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A Chapter from the Author s Moral/ Philosophy. 

[From the German.] 




Copyright, 1892, by BENZIGER BROTHERS. 




DEC 2' 


THE following pages form a chapter of the author's 
famous work on " Moral Philosophy." It was pub- 
lished separately in the original, and met with the 
most cordial reception. Not only were five large 
editions called for in less than two years, but trans- 
lations were published in French, Italian, Spanish, 
Polish, and Flemish, which promise to rival the 
original in popularity. It has become a work of 
truly international fame. 

The chief value of this little work is in the fact 
that it goes to the true sources of socialism, whether 
considered as a scientific economic theory or as a 
living social and political movement. There is noth- 
ing second-hand about it. The author did not 
shrink from the toil of examining the most volumi- 
nous and abstruse works as well as the ephemeral 
productions of the daily press and of socialistic ora- 
tory. Socialists themselves give him credit for hav- 
ing interpreted their meaning and their aims more 
faithfully and accurately than some of their own 

It is this accurate interpretation of the principles 
and policy of socialism that gives a universal and 
permanent value to Father Cathrein's treatise. So- 

2 Preface. 

cialism is the same all the world over. It is the 
translation of German social democracy and its ad- 
aptation to the views of other civilized nations. It 
is the theory of Marx, Bebel, and Liebknecht in 
English, American, or some other foreign dress. 
The Germans have the very questionable merit of 
having given to modern socialism a systematic and 
scientific form. Whatever there is in our English 


and American socialistic life and literature is but an 
importation, a plagiarism, or bad imitation of German 
socialism. It is well, then, that a German, who has 
carefully examined the genuine article on its native 
soil, should become our guide in the study of this 
peculiar phenomenon of social and economic life. 

The method of treatment will speak for itself. 
Forming a portion of a large scientific work, it is 
necessarily condensed ; but it will be found, none 
the less, to contain all that is worth knowing to the 
general reader on the important subject of which it 
treats. Some questions as, for instance, the scope 
and limits of civil power ; the notion, origin, and 
lawfulness of property have been omitted or only 
briefly touched upon, because they had been treated 
at full length in other parts of the work. Partly for 
this same reason, and partly because the author does 
not consider it as belonging to socialism strictly so 
called, which forms the subject of this treatise, noth- 
ing has been said of agrarian socialism, or the land 
question. For the rest, the author's masterly refu- 
tation of the land theories of Henry George and De 
Laveleye is before the English-reading public under 
the title of " The Champions of Agrarian Socialism " 
(Buffalo, N. Y., Peter Paul & Bro.). 

The present translation was made from the fourth 

Preface. 3 

German edition, but corrected and enlarged some- 
what from the fifth edition. The editor, however, 
being left entirely free to use his discretion in 
getting out the English version, did not deem it de- 
sirable to adopt all the additions of the latest German 
edition, but only those that bear more directly upon 
recent developments in the socialistic movement 
(e.g., the Erfurt programme of 1891, p. 24, sq.). For 
the rest, he was careful not to omit anything which 
he deemed of importance for the full understanding 
of the principles and tactics of socialists. 

He confidently trusts that his humble painstaking 
may at least to some extent help to arouse the Eng- 
lish-speaking world to a sense of the grave dangers 
that threaten society, that they may the more eagerly 
grasp the right hand of safety held out to them in 
the recent Encyclical (Rerum Novarum) by our Holy 
Father Leo XIII. 


August 31, 1892. 






Sec. I. Nature of Socialism. Its Relation to Com- 
munism ....... 9 

Sec. II. Development of Socialism . . . . 13 

I. Socialism of Antiquity and of the Middle 

Ages 13 

II. The Chief Founders of Modern So- 
cialism 14 

III. The Present Phase of Socialism . . 21 



Sec. I. Philosophical and Religious Assumptions . 35 

I. Equal Rights of all Men 35 

II. Undue Emphasis of Industrial Life . 44 

III. Materialistic View of Life ... 46 

Sec. II. Economic Principles 53 

I. Socialistic Theory of Value 53 

II. The Iron Law of Wages 61 

III. Liberalism the Root of the Evil . . 72 





Sec. I. State of the Question 79 

Sec. II. The Organization of Labor .... 85 

I. Socialization of Productive Goods . 85 
II. Mode of Determining the Social 

Demand 88 

III. Division of the Labor Forces . . 95 
. IV. Distribution of Labor. Vocations . 99 
V. Some Unsatisfactory Solutions . . 102 
VI. Refutation of an Objection . . . 109 
VII. Impossibility of the Social Organiza- 
tion of Labor . . . . 1 1 1 

Sec. III. Profit and Progress in Socialism . . .114 

I. Socialistic Dreams . . . .114 

II. Industry and Economy in Socialism . 116 

III. Progress of the Socialistic State . . 121 

IV. Arts and Sciences in Socialism . . 124 

Sec. IV. The Division of Produce .... 130 

I. Number of Persons as a Standard . 132 

II. Labor-time as a Standard . . . 134 

III. The Labor Performed as a Standard . 138 

IV. Diligence as a Standard . . . 142 

V. The Wants of Individuals as a Stand- 

ard 143 

Contents. 7 


Sec. V. The Family in the Socialistic State . . 144 

I. Marriage in the Socialistic State . . 144 

II. Education and Instruction . . .150 

Sec. VI. Some Objections Answered . . . .153 

I. Communism in Religious Orders . . 153 

II. Modern Industrial Organizations . . 155 

III. The Modern Military System . . 157 

IV. Stock Companies 158 






COMMUNISM has a wider signification than socialism. 
By communism in its wider sense we understand that 
system of economics which advocates the abolition 
of private property and the introduction of commu- 
nity of goods, at least as far as capital, or means of 
production, is concerned. Communism in this broad 
sense admits of various forms, the chief of which 
are the following : 

i. Negative communism is restricted to the negation 
of private property. According to this form of 
communism all goods should equally be put at the 
disposal of all. This species of communism, to our 
knowledge, has never yet found a serious defender 
among philosophers ; for it is evident that a sys- 
tem which does not exclude others from the use of 
those things which individuals have appropriated 
to themselves would ruin all industry and bring 
about a state of universal misery and utter disorder, 


i o Nature and Development of Socialism. 

For who would till a field if others were permitted 
to come and reap the harvest ? 

2. Extreme positive communism advocates the 
transfer of all goods without exception to one great 
common administration. All production and the 
use of all goods should be common common meals, 
common dormitories, common hospitals, etc. This 
system was advocated by some of the earlier com- 

3. Moderate positive communism (also called an- 
archism) advocates only the abolition of private 
property as far as capital, or the materials of labor, 
or productive goods in contradistinction to non-pro- 
ductive goods, is concerned. These goods should 
be handed over to the administration of independent 
but confederate communities, or federations of labor 
not to the state. The founder and first leader of 
this anarchist party was the Russian Bakunin (died 

In France the followers of the system of indepen- 
dent communities (communes] are called communists 
not to be confounded with communards, or the 
members of the Commune of Paris in 1871 although 
not all of them advocate that property should be 
vested in the communes. The defenders of this 
system of communal property are also called anar- 
chists, because they wish to exclude all central con- 
trol of the state and vindicate political and econom- 
ical independence to groups or unions of laborers. 
These communes or groups, again, should, in their 
mind, form a certain alliance somewhat resembling 
the ancient Grecian republics. These anarchists, 
however, are not to be confounded with those who 
reject all political and social authority in the com- 
munity or state. This latter anarchism manifestly 

Its Relation to Communism. 1 1 

cannot be constructed into any kind of political or 
scientific system, 

4. Socialistic communism, or simply socialism, ad- 
vocates the transformation of all capital, or means of 
labor, into the common property of society, or of 
the state, and the administration of the produce 
and the distribution of the proceeds by the state. 
Since modern socialists, and chiefly the followers of 
Karl Marx, have organized this system entirely 
upon a democratic basis, they call themselves social 
democrats, and their system social democracy. Social 
democracy may be defined as that system of political 
economy which advocates the inviolable ownership 
of all capital, or materials of labor, by the state, as 
also the public administration of all goods and the 
distribution of all produce by the democratic state. 

We call socialism a system of political economy, 
not as if it did not also lead to many political and 
social changes, but because the gist of socialism 
consists in the nationalization of property and in the 
public administration and distribution of all goods. 
Socialism, at least as it is conceived by its modern 
defenders, is in the first instance an economical system 
and only secondarily and subordinately a political 
system affecting society, the state, the family, etc. 

Socialism has been defined as the political econ- 
omy of the suffering classes, 1 that is, " a philosophy 
which in its nature and in the sentiments of con- 
temporaries is actually the economic philosophy of 
the suffering classes." But this definition, to say 
the very least, is inadequate ; nay, we venture to 
say, incorrect ; for it makes the nature of socialism 
dependent upon a certain subjective view of men. 

1 Schonberg's Handbuch der politischen Oekonomie, vol. I. p. 

1 2 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

Even though all the socialists of to-day could be 
convinced of the impracticability of their system and 
made to abandon it, yet socialism would still remain" 
a system though it no longer existed in the con- 
sciousness of contemporaries. On the other hand, 
the ideal state determined by Plato is in truth 
socialistic, although his contemporaries considered 
his theory as an idle dream. Moreover, if such a 
definition were correct, the moderate economic sys- 
tem which is advocated by conservative politicians 
for the relief of the laborer and artisan would be 
socialistic, which we cannot grant to be the case. 

From our definition it is evident that every 
socialist is a communist in the broader sense of the 
term ; but not every communist is a socialist. It is 
also manifest that neither in communism generally 
nor in that special form of it which is called social- 
ism is there any question of a general or of a 
periodical distribution of goods. Communism is the 
theoretical negation of private property, at least as 
far as capital, or labor materials, is concerned. It 
follows also that the so-called agrarian socialists, 
who deny only the right of private property in 
land, cannot simply be called socialists, although 
they defend many principles which would logically 
lead to the total abolition of private property. Nor 
can those politicians and theorists who in principle 
admit the right of private property, but in their 
economical systems put the administration of private 
property almost entirely into the hands of the state, 
be confounded with true socialists. 

Socialism of Antiquity and of the Middle Ages. 13 

I. Socialism of Antiquity and of the Middle Ages. 

From the most ancient times we meet with cer- 
tain partially communistic systems and institutions. 
On the island of Crete we find a certain kind of 
communism introduced as early as 1300 B.C., which 
in later times Lycurgus took as his model for the 
constitution of Sparta. This constitution seems to 
have been Plato's ideal when he composed his work 
entitled " The Republic," as also, though in a more 
moderate form, in the work on " Laws ; " for in 
these works he commends community of goods, 
community of education, and even community of 
meals. Aristotle, 1 who accurately describes these 
economic systems, has also clearly demonstrated 
their untenableness. While the communistic at- 
tempts of antiquity suppose a large portion of the 
population to be in the condition of slavery, there 
arose in the first Christian community in Jerusalem 
a higher kind of communism, based upon true 
charity and equality. Among the early Christians 
those who chose could retain their possessions; but 
most of them, of their own accord, sold all they 
possessed and gave the proceeds to the apostles for 
the common support of all. 2 In voluntary poverty 
the first Christians wished to devote themselves 
wholly to the service of God and of their neighbor. 
Such a condition, however, in its very nature, con- 

1 Polit. ii. 2. 2 Acts v. 

14 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

sidering men as they generally are, could not be 
obligatory, universal, permanent a circumstance 
which was overlooked by the Apostolics, Albigenses, 
Anabaptists, and other sects which in the course of 
centuries fell off from the Church and clung to the 
principle of the unlawfulness of private property. 
Apart from these heresies and from some com- 
munistic political works of fiction based, as it seems, 
chiefly on the "Utopia" of Blessed Thomas More, 
and the attempt of a communistic conspiracy under 
Baboeuf (died 1796 A.D.), we may say that com- 
munism and socialism are essentially the growth of 
modern times. The reductions of Paraguay which 
are frequently set up as models of communism were 
not strictly communistic and were destined only to 
be institutions of a transitory character. 1 

II. The Chief Founders of Modern Socialism. 

i. The occasion of modern socialism was the great 
development of industry and the modification of 
social circumstances dating from the latter part of the 
last century. Since the French Revolution modern 
discoveries have brought about astounding results 
in the field of industry and commerce. But one of 
these results was the great division of society into 
two hostile classes a small number of wealthy 
capitalists, and an immense multitude of day-labor- 
ers which classes are usually designated respectively 
as capital and labor. Modern socialism takes its 
origin from this opposition between the rich and the 
poor ; and its last object is the final removal of this 

1 Stimmen aus Maria Laach, vol. xxxv. p. 445. 

The Chief Founders of Modern Socialism. 1 5 

2. The first who endeavored to give a form to 
modern socialism was Count de St. Simon (1776- 
1825). From him dates socialism in its present 
shape. Liberal political economists had established 
the principle that labor alone is the foundation and 
source of all value, and, consequently, of all wealth. 
Socialism seized upon this principle and made it the 
basis of its operations against the modern conditions 
of property. St. Simon drew from this principle 
the conclusion that labor industry in its wider 
sense must be the standard of all social institu- 
tions ; in other words, that the laborers should not 
as heretofore take the last but the first place in 
society ; it was, therefore, the business of social sci- 
ence to restore the laborers to the position due to 

St. Simon was only a theorist. He made no prac- 
tical attempts to give effect to his views; nay, he 
did not even venture directly to question the right 
of private property. Bazard, his chief disciple, con- 
tinued to build on the foundation laid by his master. 
In order to remove the inequality and seeming in- 
justice of the existing conditions of property, he 
demanded a complete modification of the rights of 
inheritance. In place of kindred he would make 
merit the basis of inheritance ; or rather, the state 
alone was to be the heir of all its children and distrib- 
ute the property of the deceased among the most 
worthy of the living. 

3 Almost contemporarily with St. Simon, Charles 
Fourier (1772-1837) proposed his system of social- 
ism. Fourier proceeds from the supposition that 
what is ordinarily called the will of God is nothing 
else than the laws of universal attraction, which up- 
hold the universe and manifest themselves in the 

1 6 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

instincts and tendencies of all things. Also in man 
these instincts are revelations of the divine will. 
Therefore it is unlawful to suppress them ; they 
should be gratified ; from their gratification arises 
human happiness ; but the means to this gratifica- 
tion is the organization of labor. 

This organization is to be brought about in this wise. 
Proprietors, without losing the right of property, should con- 
tribute all their wealth to the common industry, in order 
that each individual in continued succession may be able to 
apply himself to that occupation to which his momentary 
instinct may incline him. Such labor would be a delight. 
Fourier, moreover, makes the following propositions. On 
every square mile should dwell two thousand persons (a 
phalanx) in one large building (phalanstere) under the con- 
trol of an overseer (unarque). The phalanxes, again, should 
be divided into series, the series into groups. Thus each 
one might at pleasure change his labor. From the proceeds 
of the labor four- twelfths goes to the capital as interest ; 
three-twelfths is given to genius; and the rest, five-twelfths, 
is given to labor. Yet neither St. Simon nor Fourier ven- 
tured to suggest the abolition of private property. For the 
rest, there is an intrinsic contradiction in the very fact that 
Fourier allows private property to exist and wishes to com 
pel the proprietor to give all his capital for common use. 

4. Like Bazard, so also Louis Blanc (1811-1882^ 
finds the root of all economic evils in free competi- 
tion ; and the only remedy, according to him, is in 
the public organization of labor. The state should 
undertake the part of the chief producer and grad- 
ually extend its production so as to make private 
production impossible. After the state has achieved 
this result it should regulate and control the entire 
industry of the nation. Louis Blanc was also the 
first who publicly represented the principle of right 
to labor and endeavored to bring this right into ac- 

The Chief Founders of Modern Socialism. 17 

tion by erecting national workshops for laborers out 
of work. 

5. In Germany Karl Rodbertus (1805-1875) is 
considered the first representative and pioneer of 
"scientific " socialism. He develops his theories in 
popular letters and essays on social questions and 
political economy. 1 He himself characterizes his 
doctrine as the " logical development of the princi- 
ple introduced into political science by Adam Smith, 
and further developed by Ricardo, that all goods, 
considered from an industrial standpoint, are only the 
product of labor, and cost nothing but labor." 

If the division of the national produce is left to itself, says 
Rodbertus, the wages of the laborer becomes an ever 
smaller portion of the national produce the more produc- 
tion increases : and this gives rise to pauperism and to in- 
dustrial crises. These evils can be remedied only by the 
gradual introduction of society into a condition in which 
neither real estate nor capital can further exist, but only 
wages or labor income. 

6. A much more important part, however, in the 
development of "scientific" socialism both in and 
outside of Germany was played by Karl Marx (born 
1808 in Treves, died 1883 in London). He develops 
his theory principally in his famous work entitled 
"Capital." Like St. Simon and Rodbertus he pro- 
ceeds from the principle that labor is the only source 
of exchange-value. He distinguishes between use- 
value and exchange-value. The former consists in 
the usefulness of an object for supplying human 
wants and is based upon the physical and chemical 
attributes of the object. The latter, on the other 

1 Sociale Briefe, 1850-51. Briefe und Socialpolitische Aufsatze, 

1 8 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

hand, consists in the ratio in which the use-value of 
one object stands to the use-value of another. The 
use-value of bread, for instance, consists in its useful- 
ness for nourishment ; its exchange-value, on the 
other hand, consists in its fitness to be exchanged 
or sold for other goods or merchandise. An object 
has exchange value only because it contains labor, 
and the measure of the labor embodied in it is the 
measure of its exchangeable value. 

Hence Marx infers that by mere exchange of 
goods against goods no surplus-value, or increment, 
can be obtained, since in a case of exchange what 
is given must be equivalent to what is received. The 
same applies to exchange of capital, in which money 
is bartered for goods, and goods again for money. 
How does the capitalist notwithstanding come to 
his surplus-value, or increment, nay, to the accumu- 
lation of an enormous capital ? It is by the secret 
of "surplus-making" (Plusmacherei), which Marx 
discloses to us, and the disclosure of which forms the 
gist of his work on " Capital." His line of reasoning 
is the following : 

Like every other commodity, labor-power, which in our 
day is considered a species of merchandise, has its use-value 
and its exchange- value. The exchange - value of labor- 
power is determined, like the value of every other kind of 
merchandise, by the average amount of joint labor contained 
in it, or by the value of the nutriment which is generally 
required for the nourishment and sustenance of the labor- 
power. But besides this labor-power has a use-value of its 
very nature, " which costs the laborer nothing, but enriches 
the capitalist considerably." For labor has this property, 
that it confers upon its products greater exchange-value 
than it possesses itself. If, for instance, the value of the 
victuals which the laborer generally consumes is three 
shillings, those three shillings form the exchange-value of 

The Chief Founders of Modern Socialism. 19 

the labor-power, or the wages, due to it. A portion of the 
labor-time, say six houis, is employed by the laborer to 
produce in another form that value which he receives under 
the form of money (three shillings). This portion of time 
Marx calls the necessary labor-time. 

But the laborer must over and above this necessary time 
work perhaps twelve hours. " This second period of the 
labor process which the laborer works beyond his time costs 
him labor, expenditure of labor-power, but has for him no 
value. // forms SURPLUS-VALUE, which smiles upon the 
capitalist with all the attractiveness of a new creation" 1 
This surplus-value, or increment, the capitalist appropriates 
without cost. It naturally increases in proportion to the 
length of the daily labor-time, with the number of laborers 
employed, and the lowness of wages. 

But in virtue of the very same laws by which capitalism 
oppresses and overreaches the laborer, capital itself must 
}ield to a higher social order. The number of competitors 
is constantly diminished, while their power is becoming con- 
stantly more oppressive. On the other hand, the number of 
impoverished laborers is on the increase and their misery 
is becoming more unbearable. The concentration of labor- 
material, the organization of labor, and the education of the 
organized labor-classes approach a stage at which the bonds of 
capitalism and monopoly are to be rent in the hands of the 
few. The "spoilers shall be despoiled," and individual 
property will be restored " based on the achievements of a 
capitalistic era, i.e., on the co operation of free labor and 
common ownership in land, as well as in those means of pro- 
duction which are themselves the product of labor."* 

The change of individual private property, based upon 
individual labor, into capital is naturally a process much 
more tedious, arduous, and difficult than the transfer of the 
capitalistic private property, as it now actually exists on the 
basis of social usurpation of all means of production, into 
public property. The former process consisted in the ex- 
propriation of the masses of the people by a few usurpers ; 
the latter consists in the expropriation of a few itsurpers by 
the masses of the people. 

1 Kapital, 4 ed., p. 178. 

2 Ibid., p. 728. 

2O Nature and Development of Socialism. 

This passage is important, as it opens to us a view 
into the future socialistic order of society as it ex- 
isted in the mind of the founder of the International. 
Taking this passage in connection with the other 
expositions of Marx in the work entitled " Capital," 
we may establish the following programme : 

a. Common ownership of all means of production to be 
brought about by the expropriation of the usurpers (capital- 
ists) by the masses of the people through democratic as 
opposed to constitutional ways and means. 

b. Social or common employment of all means of labor 
by the co-operation of free labor the public organization 
of labor on a democratic as opposed to a constitutional 

c. The proceeds of labor are to be regarded as public 
produce. Part of this produce is to be employed for new 
production ; the rest is destined for use, should be distributed 
and become private property. This is the part of the produce 
which Marx repeatedly characterizes as private property 
based on labor. 

d. In the distribution of the public produce, according to 
the principles of Marx (although he is not sufficiently ex- 
plicit on the point), the amount of labor which is profitable 
for society, or the necessary labor-time which each one must 
expend for the benefit of society, is to be taken as a 

7. As an agitator Ferdinand Lassalle (1825-1864) 
has, at least in Germany, exercised a greater influ- 
ence on the development of socialism than did Karl 
Marx; but in theory " the labor king" stands upon 
the same ground as the founder of the International. 
He closely follows Marx, particularly in his theory 
on value. Peculiar to the great agitator is that law 
which after him was called the " iron law of wages." 
The average wages should be equivalent to the 
amount necessary for the support of life i.e., for 

Tlic Present Phase of Socialism. 2 1 

subsistence and propagation according to the cus- 
toms of a given country. This law, it is true, had 
been previously established ; but Lassalle enun- 
ciated it in such terms as to give it point and make 
it suitable for agitating purposes. We shall submit 
the law of wages to further inquiry at a later stage 
of this work. 

III. The Present Phase of Socialism. 

If we now cast a glance on the present phase of 
socialism we may distinguish two principal schools : 
(i) The German social democrats and the kindred 
collcctivists in France and England, and (2) the 
anarchists. The first school stands altogether on 
the ground of Marx's theory. The German social 
democrats, whose chief representatives are Franz 
Engels and the members of the Imperial Parliament 
Bebel, Liebknecht, Auer, Senger, and Grillenberger, 
adopted the following programme in Gotha in the 
year 1875 known as the Gotha programme 
which they have since strictly followed, and which 
was considered the official platform of this school 
till October 1891, when a new platform was adopted 
at Erfurt, called the Erfurt programme. We print 
both programmes in full. 


I. Labor is the source of all wealth, and culture ; and since 
universally efficient labor is possible only through society, it 
follows that, the universal duty of labor being supposed, the 
entire product of labor belongs with equal right to the entire 
body of society, that is, to its individual members, each 
according to his individual wants. 

22 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

In the present state of society labor materials are mo- 
nopolized by capitalists ; and the dependence of the laboring 
class thence arising is the cause of misery and slavery in all 
its forms. 

The liberation of labor requires the transformation of all 
labor materials into the common property of society, and the 
social control of all labor, together with the application and 
just distribution of the entire proceeds of labor, for the use 
of all. 

The liberation of labor must be the work of the laboring 
class, which stands in opposition to other classes as a reac- 
tive mass. 

II. Proceeding from these principles, the socialistic labor 
party of Germany seeks by all means to bring about a free 
state and a socialistic organization, the abolition of the iron 
wage law and of the system of wage-working, the removal 
of oppression of every form, and of all social and political 

The socialistic labor party of Germany, though operating 
within the confines of the nation, is conscious of the inter- 
national character of the labor movement and is determined 
to discharge all the duties which this universality imposes 
upon the laborers to bring about the brotherhood of all 

The socialistic party of Germany demands, in order to 
prepare the way for the solution of the social problem, the 
institution of socialistic industrial associations at the public 
expense under the democratic control of the laboring people. 
These associations are to be of such dimensions that from 
them the socialistic organization of the entire people may be 

This portion of the programme contains the 
economic aims and, consequently, the gist of the 
social democratic aspirations. It is followed by a 
second political programme which voices the polit- 
ical aims of the movement in the first place, the 
final and permanent ends and, in the second place, 
the means which are gradually to transform our 
present society into a socialistic state. 

The Present Phase of Socialism. 23 

The socialistic labor party of Germany demands that the 
constitution of the state should rest upon the following 
principles: (i) Universal, equal, and direct suffrage with 
private ballot, and obligatory voting of all subjects of the 
state from the age of twenty upwards for all elections in 
state and municipality. The election-day is to be on a 
Sunday or a holiday. (2) Immediate legislation by the 
people. Decisions regarding peace and war by the people. 
(3) Universal military service. Civil militia instead of 
standing armies. (4) The abolition of all exceptional legis- 
lation, especially regarding the freedom of the press, of as- 
sociation, and of holding public meetings, and generally of 
all laws which in any way restrict the free expression of 
opinion, free thought and research. (5) The administration 
of justice by the people. Free administration of justice. 
(6) Universal and equal education of the people by the 
state; universal compulsory education; free instruction in 
all educational institutions. Religion to be declared a 
private matter. 

The socialistic labor party of Germany demands in the 
present existing social circumstances : (i) The greatest pos- 
sible extent of political rights and franchises in conformity 
with the above demands. (2) One only progressive income- 
tax for state and municipality in the place of all existing 
taxation particularly in the place of the indirect taxation 
which weighs so heavily upon the people. (3) Unlimited right 
of association. (4) A normal working day suited to social 
circumstances. [By a normal working day some socialists 
understand a maximum of working hours permitted in any 
given industry ; others, again, understand by the normal 
working day the necessary social labor-time of an individual, 
which varies in proportion to his natural wants and to the 
productiveness of his labor; others, again, understand by 
the normal working day the number of hours which a laborer 
of medium health and strength and of medium effort, under 
ordinary conditions, can work daily.] Prohibition of Sun- 
day labor. (5) Prohibition of child labor, and of such labor 
for women as is injurious to health and morality. (6) Laws 
protecting the life and health of the laborers. Sanitary 
control of the workmen's dwellings. The supervision of 
mines, factories, workshops, and domestic industries by 

24 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

officers elected by the workmen. Efficient insurance and 
compensation laws. (7) The regulation of prison labor. 
(8) Independent administration of all aid and benefit funds. 


I. The economical development of civil society necessarily 
leads to the destruction of small industries, the basis of 
which is private ownership of the laborer in the means 
of production. It divests the laborer of all means of pro- 
duction and transforms him into a penniless proletarian, 
while the means of production become the sole property of 
a comparatively small number of capitalists and real-estate 

Hand in hand with the monopoly of capital goes the 
abolition of the disorganized small industries by the forma- 
tion of vast industrial organizations, the development of 
work-tools into machines, and a gigantic increase of the 
productiveness of human labor. But all the advantages of 
this change are monopolized by the capitalists and land- 
owners. For the proletariat and the declining middle 
classes common citizens and farmers this social change 
is tantamount to the prevalence of insecurity of existence, 
misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, vexation. 

The number of proletarians increases, the army of super- 
fluous laborers assumes greater dimensions from day to day ; 
the conflict between the oppressor and the oppressed is 
becoming more and more violent that conflict between 
the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, which divides modern 
society into two hostile camps and is the common char- 
acteristic of all industrial nations. 

The chasm between rich and poor is widened by those 
financial crises which are grounded in the very nature of 
capitalistic industry crises which become ever more ex- 
tensive and destructive, make universal insecurity the 
normal state of society, and give evidence that the produc- 
tive forces of our age have become uncontrollable by society, 
and that private property in the means of production has 
become incompatible with their proper utilization and full 

Private property in the means of production, which for- 

The Present Phase of Socialism. 25 

merly was a means of securing to the producer the owner- 
ship of his produce, has nowadays become a means of 
dispossessing farmers, laborers, and small merchants, and 
of making the non-laborers capitalists and landlords the 
possessors of the produce of labor. Only the transformation 
of private capitalistic property in the means of production 
i.e., land, mines and mining, raw material, tools, machinery, 
and means of communication into common property, and 
the change of private production into socialistic i.e., pro- 
duction for and through society can effect that the ex- 
tensive industry and the ever-increasing productiveness of 
social labor shall become for the downtrodden classes, 
instead of a fountain of misery and oppression, a source of 
the highest prosperity and of universal and harmonious 

This social revolution implies the liberation, not only of 
the laboring class, but of the entire human race, which is 
suffering under our present condition. But this emancipa- 
tion can only be the work of the laboring classes, since all 
other classes, notwithstanding their clashing interests, take 
their stand on the platform of private property in land and 
in the means of production, and make the preservation of 
modern society on its present basis their common object. 

The struggle of labor against capitalistic oppression is 
necessarily a political one. The laboring class cannot carry 
on its industrial struggles and develop its economic organiza- 
tion without political rights. It cannot effect the transfer 
of the means of production into the possession of the body 
social without possessing itself of political power. 

To give to this struggle of the laboring class spontaneous 
activity and unity, and to assign to it its natural direction 
this is the end and aim of the social democratic party. 

The interests of the laboring classes are the same in all 
countries where capitalistic industry exists. Owing to the 
extent of international commerce and industry the condi- 
tion of labor in every country becomes more and more 
dependent on the condition of labor in all other countries. 
The emancipation of the laboring classes is therefore a work 
in which the laborers of all civilized countries should take 
part. In this conviction the social democratic party of 

26 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

Germany feels and declares itself to be at one with the 
intelligent organized laborers of all other countries. 

The social democratic party of Germany does not con- 
tend for new rights or privileges for the laboring classes, but 
for the abolition of the rule of the classes and of the classes 
themselves, and for the equal rights and equal duties of all 
without distinction of sex or pedigree. Proceeding from 
these views, social democracy in modern society opposes not 
only the enslavement and oppression of the laboring class, 
but every kind of slavery and oppression, no matter against 
what class, party, race, or sex they may be brought to bear. 

II. Proceeding from these principles, the social democratic 
party of Germany for the present demands : 

1. Universal, equal, direct suffrage by private ballot for 
all citizens over twenty years of age, without distinction of 
sex, in all elections and ballotings. Representation propor- 
tioned to the number of population, and meanwhile a re- 
distribution of election districts after each census. Biennial 
elections. Elections and other ballotings to be held on a 
legal holiday. Compensation for representatives. Abolition 
of every restriction of political rights except in the case of 
legal disf ranch isement. 

2. Direct legislation by the people through the right of 
motion and of veto. Self-rule and self-administration by 
the people in empire, state, province, and community. 
Election of magistrates by the people ; their responsibility 
in solidarity to the people. Annual grant of taxation. 

3. Education for universal military service. Popular 
militia instead of standing armies. Decisions regarding 
peace and war by the representatives of the people. Inter- 
national disputes to be settled by arbitration. 

4. Abolition of all laws which restrict or suppress freedom 
in the expression of opinion ; the right of forming asso- 
ciations and holding conventions. 

5. Abolition of all laws which subordinate woman to man 
in public and private life. 

6. Religion is to be declared a private concern ; the use 
of public funds for ecclesiastical and religious purposes to 
be abolished. Ecclesiastical and religious communities are 
to be regarded as private societies which are perfectly free 
to manage their own affairs. 

The Present Phase of Socialism. 27 

7. Secularization of the schools. Compulsory attendance 
of the public schools. Instruction, use of all the means of 
instruction (books, etc.), and board free of charge in all 
public elementary schools, and in the higher institutions of 
learning for such pupils of both sexes as, on account of 
their talents, are judged fit for higher studies. 

8. Gratuitous administration of justice and legal advice. 
Administration of justice by judges elected by the people. 
The right of appeal in criminal cases. Indemnification of 
those who have been unjustly accused, arrested, or con- 
demned. Abolition of capital punishment. 

9. Free medical attendance, also in childbirth ; free medi- 
cine. Free burial. 

10. Graded and progressive taxation on income and 
property to meet all public expenses which are to be de- 
frayed by taxes. Obligatory self-valuation. Taxation on 
hereditary property, graded progressively according to the 
extent of the property and the degree of kindred of the 
heirs. Abolition of all indirect taxes, customs, and other 
economical imposts, which subordinate the general interests 
to the interests of the few. 

For the protection of the laboring class the social demo- 
cratic party of Germany demands for the present : 

1. National and international legislation for the protec- 
tion of labor on the following basis : (a) The determination of 
a normal work-day not exceeding eight hours, (b) Prohibi- 
tion of industrial labor by children under the age of fourteen 
years, (c} Prohibition of night-work, except in those branches 
of industry which of their nature, for mechanical reasons or 
for the common welfare, require night-work, (d} An un- 
interrupted rest of at least thirty-six hours every week for 
each laborer, (e) Abolition of the force system. 

2. Supervision of all industries. Investigation and regu- 
lation of the condition of labor in town and country by 
means of imperial and provincial labor bureaus and labor 
councils. An effectual system of industrial hygiene. 

3. Equality between agricultural laborers or servants and 
industrial laborers; abolition of the domestic relations be- 
tween masters (or mistresses) and servants. 

4. Maintenance of the right of coalition. 

5. Insurance of laborers to be regulated by the imperial 

28 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

government, with due co-operation of the laborers in the 

A. Schaffle, 1 a socialistic writer of some promi- 
nence, gives, as the result of a long-continued study 
of socialistic literature, the following description of 
the ends and aims of socialism : 

The conversion of private capital, i.e., of the speculative 
private system of production controlled by free competi- 
tion into collective capital i.e., into a system of production 
which by means of collective or common ownership of all 
means of production by all members of the community 
would bring about a united [social, collective] organization 
of the national labor. This collective method of production 
would supplant the present system of competition by putting 
the collective [social, co-operative] branches of production 
under professional control and by distributing, by means of 
this same professional direction, the entire social produce of 
nil among all according to the standard of the social value 
of the productive labor of each individual. 

In the socialistic state, therefore, there would be, accord- 
ing to Schaffle's declarations, no private property in pro- 
ductive materials, consequently no private enterprise and no 
private competition. All labor materials would be the 
property of the state as such, or of all the members of the 
state taken collectively. The productions would be the 
result of the public productive labor of the community. " All 
socially regulated productive and industrial institutions fitted 
out from the collective capital of the state." There would 
be no more wage-working or wages. All laborers would be, 
as it were, in the pay of the community, which would give 
to each one his share of the proceeds in proportion to the 
part which he had taken in the entire labor. "The neces- 
sary amount of production of whatever kind must be deter- 
mined by a continued official account kept by bureaus of con- 
sumption and production, and this estimate must determine 
the extent of the scheme of each branch of industry. Def- 
icits and surpluses, which may occur in the actual proceeds 

1 Quintessenz des Socialismus, 9 ed., 1885, p. 2. 

The Present Phase of Socialism. 29 

below or above the industrial estimates of each period 
must be balanced by means of supplies to be kept on hand 
not in private stores, but in public magazines." 1 

This scheme exactly coincides with that laid down by Karl 
Marx in " Capital " and adopted in the Gotha and Erfurt 
programmes. The same scheme is reproduced in almost all 
social democratic publications. Thus, for instance, in a 
manifesto entitled " What the Social Democrats are and what 
they aim at," scattered broadcast for years among the laborers 
at the elections, we read among other things : "Down with the 
wage-system ! This is the first demand of social democracy. 
In the place of wage-work, with its class ascendency, must 
be established social labor, association (co-operative pro- 
duction). The instrumentsof labor must cease to be the 
monopoly of one class and become the common property of 
all. . . . [We demand the] control of production and the 
division of the produce in the interest of the masses; aboli- 
tion of modern commerce, which is fraud, as well as of the 
modern system of production. Co-ordinate with one an- 
other all workmen shall have to perform the necessary 
labor for the interests of all the members of the state. . . . 
Labor shall be a burden to none, because it is the duty 
of all. . . . And in order that this scheme may be realized 
we demand a democratic government a government of all 
and for all, a government consisting of society itself ration- 
ally and justly organized, a universal institution for the 
insurance of happiness and culture, a brotherhood of free 
and equal men." 

That the description which we have given of socialism is 
correct may be easily seen from the writings of August 
Bebel, 2 J. Stern, 8 and others, whose opinions exactly coincide 
with those which we have reproduced. Bebel, it is true, 
wishes only to give his personal views, but his great popu- 
larity with the masses of socialists is a sufficient guarantee 
that his opinions are orthodox in the socialistic sense. 
Since, however, in our criticism of socialism we shall have 

1 Quintessenz, p. 3. 

2 Unsere Ziele, 5 ed., 1875 ; Die Frau in der Gegenvvart, 7 ed., 

3 Thesen iiber den Socialismus, iSoo. 

30 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

frequent occasion to return to Bebel, we shall here, in order 
to avoid repetitions, abstain from quoting his opinions. 

In our description of socialism we have chiefly dwelt upon 
the tenets of the social democrats of Germany. However, 
the principles of all advanced socialists of other countries 
coincide in the main with these. We have only to compare, 
for instance, the platform adopted by the International Labor 
Congress of Paris, 1889, with the Gotha and Erfurt pro- 
grammes, and with the various other documents which we 
have cited, to convince ourselves of the identity. The only 
difference between the socialists of the various nationalities 
is in their tactics, not in their principles ; and in no other 
country have the principles been so scientifically developed 
as in Germany. 

That the tendency of American socialism is the same as 
that of European nations may be seen by comparing the 
platform of the American Socialistic Labor Party with the 
various schemes already described. The congress held at 
Baltimore, 1883, issued the following manifesto: 1 

" Labor being the creator of all wealth and civilization, it 
rightfully follows that those who labor and create all wealth 
should enjoy the full result of their toil. Therefore we 
declare : 

" That a just and equitable distribution of the fruits of 
labor is utterly impossible under the present system of 
society. This fact is abundantly illustrated by the deplora- 
ble condition of the working classes, which are in a state of 
destitution and degrading dependence in the midst of their 
own productions. While the hardest and most disagreeable 
work brings to the worker only the bare necessaries of life, 
others, who labor not, riot in labor's production. We 
furthermore declare : 

"That the present industrial system of competition, 
based on rent, profit-taking, and interest, causes and inten- 
sifies this inequality, concentrating into the hands of a fe\v 
all means of production, distribution, and the results of 
labor, thus creating gigantic monopolies, dangerous to the 
people's liberties; and we further declare : 

" That these monster monopolies and these consequent 

1 Richard Ely, Labor Movement, pp. 269, 270. 

The Present Phase of Socialism. 3 1 

extremes of wealth and poverty supported by class legisla- 
tion are subversive of all democracy, injurious to the national 
interests, and destructive of truth and morality. This state 
of affairs, continued and upheld by the ruling political par- 
ties, is against the welfare of the people. 

"To abolish this system, with a view to establish co- 
operative production, and to secure equitable distribution, 
we demand tJiat the resources of life, namely, land, the means 
of production, public transportation, and exchange, become as 
fast as practicable the property of the whole state" 

More explicit still are succeeding declarations, as those 
issued in Cincinnati, 1885. 

The Socialistic Labor Party strives for a radical revision of 
the Constitution and statutes of the United States, the 
States and municipalities, according to the following de- 
mands : 


1. The United States shall take possession of the railroads, 
canals, telegraphs, telephones, and all other means of pub- 
lic transportation. 

2. The municipalities to take possession of the local rail- 
roads, of ferries, and of the supply of light to streets and 
public places. 

3. Public lands to be declared inalienable. They shall be 
leased according to fixed principles. Revocation of all 
grants of lands by the United States to corporations or in- 
dividuals the conditions of which have not been complied 
with or which are otherwise illegal. 

4. The United States to have the exclusive right to issue 

5. Congressional legislation providing for the scientific 
management of forests and waterways, and prohibiting the 
waste of the natural resources of the country. 

6. The United States to have the right of expropriation 
of running patents. New inventions to be free to all, but 
inventors to be remunerated by national rewards. 

7. Legal provision that the rent of dwellings shall not 
exceed a certain percentage of the value of the buildings as 
taxed by the municipality. 

32 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

8. Inauguration of public works in times of economical 

9. Progressive income-tax and tax on inheritances, but 
smaller incomes to be exempt. 

10. Compulsory school education of all children under 
fourteen years of age. Instruction in all educational institu- 
tions to be gratuitous, and to be made accessible to all by 
public assistance (furnishing meals, clothes, books, etc.). 
All instruction to be under the direction of the United 
States, and to be organized on a uniform plan. 

11. Repeal of all pauper, tramp, conspiracy, and temper- 
ance laws. Unabridged right of combination. 

12. Official statistics concerning the condition of labor. 
Prohibition of the employment of children in the school 
age, and the employment of female labor in occupations 
detrimental to health or morality. Prohibition of the con- 
vict-labor contract system. 

13. All wages to be paid in cash money. Equalization by 
law of women's wages with those of men where equal ser- 
vice is performed. 

14. Laws for the protection of life and limb of working 
people, and an efficient employer's liability law. 

15. Legal incorporation of trades-unions. 

16. Reduction of the hours of labor in proportion to the 
progress of production ; establishment by act of Congress of 
a legal work-day of not more than eight hours for all indus- 
trial workers, and corresponding provisions for all agricul- 
tural laborers. 


1. Abolition of the Presidency, Vice-Presidency, and 
Senate of the United States. An Executive Board to be 
established whose members are to be elected, and may at 
anytime be recalled, by the House of Representatives as the 
only legislative body. The States and municipalities to 
adopt corresponding amendments of their constitution and 

2. Municipal self-government. 

3. Direct vote and secret ballot in all elections. Universal 
and equal rights of suffrage without regard to color, creed, 

The Present Phase of Socialism. 33 

or sex. Election-days to be legal holidays. The principle 
of minority representation to be introduced. 

4. The people to have the right to propose laws (initiative) 
and to vote upon all laws of importance (referendum). 

5. The members of all legislative bodies to be responsible 
to and subject to recall by the constituency. 

6. Uniform law throughout the United States. Adminis- 
tration of justice to be free of charge. Abolition of capital 

7. Separation of all public affairs from religion ; church 
property to be subject to taxation. 

8. Uniform national marriage laws. Divorce to be granted 
upon mutual consent, and upon providing for the care of 
the children. 

Similar is the programme of the Australian Socialistic 
Union, established 1890 in Sydney, New South Wales. 
That these principles are carefully propagated not only in 
conventions, but also among the masses, may be seen from a 
popular catechism printed for the use of the Knights of 
Labor in the city of Buffalo, N. Y., 1888. 

What are our six demands? the Knight is asked. The 
answer is : 

I. The equal rights of all men to the soil. 

II. That lands held for speculative purposes should be 
taxed to their full value. 

III. That money should be issued by the government and 
not through banks. 

IV. That the railroads and telegraphs be managed by the 

V. That children under fifteen years should not be em- 
ployed in workshops, mines, or factories. 

VI. That all workmen should be properly protected while 
at work. 

Again the Knight is questioned as follows: 

Do you believe that all men are created equal? Yes. 

Have they equal rights to life? Yes. 

Have they equal rights to the soil, the land in other 
words, to the means of living? Yes. 

What right has the people to the land of the earth ? The 
right to the use of it. 

34 Nature and Development of Socialism. 

Has one generation more right to the earth than another ? 
No. . . . 

If the land of any country belongs to the people of that 
country, to whom does the rent belong? To the people 
who have a right to the land. 

After the aspirant to knighthood is further instructed on 
the blessedness attendant on the socialization of the soil 
and the management of all monopolies by the government, 
this query is put to him : "With all monopolies managed by 
the government and all men sharing alike the benefits 
arising from the ownership of land, would the working- 
men's condition be improved?" The answer is worthy 
of Bebel himself: "Yes. He would find'himself in a para- 
dise, where it would be a pleasure to labor." 

These samples of socialism from the United States may 
suffice to show that Americans in their own practical 
way have largely gleaned from the theories of Marx and of 
the German socialists. This is manifest to any one who is 
slightly acquainted with the writings of Bellamy and Henry 
George. * 

1 See Rae's recent learned work entitled " Socialism, "passim. 




I. Equal Rights of all Men. 

IN demonstrating the untenableness of the princi- 
ples of socialism we shall not confine ourselves 
merely to its economic aspects. Such a consider- 
ation would be one-sided and imperfect. For 
although the chief demands of socialism are of an 
economic character, yet its theories are based upon 
principles which belong to other departments of 

I. The fundamental principles of socialism belong 
not to economical but to metaphysical science. 
Foremost among its tenets is the equality of man, 
not from a physical but from a juridical standpoint. 
We do not, therefore, contend that the socialists 
demand the absolute equality of all ; they insist 
only on the equal rights of all. But this demand 
tacitly presupposes absolute equality. We must, 
therefore, distinguish their demand from their 

There has been some doubt as to whether this 

36 Untenable ness of the Principles of Socialism. 

supposition of the absolute equality of men from 
which modern socialists proceed is essential to 
socialism. Schaffle, who enjoys considerable au- 
thority among socialists, seems to deny this. Paul- 
sen even goes so far as to assert that socialism must 
assume the character " not of the party of equality, 
but of the party of equal rights ; not of the party of 
false democracy, but of the party of moral and 
intellectual that is, natural aristocracy." ' How- 
ever, he seems to ignore the very essence of socialism 
as a labor organization. True, the socialists charac- 
terize themselves as the party of justice. But whence 
have they the right to set themselves up as the 
vindicators of justice, and to brand modern society 
wholesale as unjust? If they wish to answer this 
question they must either point to the equality of 
all men, from which equality equal rights would 
follow ; or they must maintain that labor is the only 
source of just property. By substituting for the 
existing aristocracy a nondescript natural aristocracy, 
the laboring classes would profit little and the 
existing social misery which the socialists would 
dispel would hardly be removed. 

In fact, the socialists demand "equal rights and 
equal duties for all" " the removal of all social 
and political inequality " (Gotha programme). 
Bebel 2 and Stern 3 and others demand the equality 
of the conditions of existence for all. According 
to Liebknecht 4 there shall exist in the state of the 
future absolute equality of rights, and this equality is 
to be the only limit to freedom. By such absolute 

1 System der Ethik, p. 729. 

2 Die Frau, p. 150. 

3 Thesen uber den Socialismus, p. 19. 

4 Berliner Volksblatt, 1890, No. 253, 

Equal Rights of all Men. 37 

equality of rights we cannot understand merely 
equality before the law ; for such equality already 
exists to a certain extent and that not only politi- 
cally, but also juridically and socially. In the 
German Empire, for instance, the law makes no 
distinctions of ranks and classes in conferring 
political rights. There exists, therefore, political 
equality before the law. Nor does the German 
Empire make any distinction in the administration 
of justice, so that there exists also juridical equality 
strictly so called. Nay, not even is there any social 
inequality before the law in regard to domestic 
rights or commercial and industrial life. Each one 
is free to take up any branch of industry or any 
trade or profession he pleases, if he only complies 
with the necessary legal conditions. 

When, therefore, the socialists take equal rights 
as their watch-word and in the name of this equality 
make war upon society, they do not mean by equal 
rights equality before the law, but the actual and 
absolute equality of rig Jits in actual social life. For, 
notwithstanding the equality before the law, there 
actually exists the greatest inequality of rights in 
political as well as in other regards. The political 
rights, for instance, of members of the legislature, 
ministers of state, and other officials are different 
from those of electors ; and, notwithstanding the 
abstract equal rights of all, it is but the very few who 
become members of parliament, ministers, or im- 
perial state councillors. Much less is there actual 
equality of rights in social life. There are rich and 
poor, learned and unlearned, laborers and employers. 
In short, society is divided into countless professions 
and callings, all attended with different rights and 
duties. It is particularly this inequality that the 

38 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

socialists would remove. This demand has a promi- 
nent place in the Gotha programme the removal 
of all social and political inequality. Such a de- 
mand can have some semblance of justice only in 
the supposition of the absolute equality of all men. 
In the course of our inquiry we shall have occasion 
to show that the socialistic organization, if it has 
any foundation at all, is based on the absolute 
equality of all men. Let us, therefore, examine 
this assumption itself. 

2. True it is that all men have a like nature 
that all men are perfectly equal, if considered in the 
abstract, according to their nature, apart from all 
concrete circumstances which must necessarily ac- 
company actual existence. All have the same 
Creator, the same aim and end, the same natural 
moral law ; all are members of one great family. 
Hence follows also that there are essential rights 
and duties which are, so to speak, necessarily en- 
grafted on human nature and are the same with all 
men. Every individual human being has, therefore, 
at all times and in all places, the right to be treated 
as a man. Every individual has also the right to 
the strictly necessary conditions of existence. But 
that all men must enjoy the same conditions of 
existence cannot be proved from the equality of 
men in the abstract. 

3. As soon as we consider men as they really are 
we are confronted with the greatest possible variety 
from which necessarily arises a diversity of rights 
and duties. Some are in helpless infancy or tender 
youth ; others in the strength of manhood ; others 
again are declining to their graves in decrepit old 
age. From this variety necessarily follows a diver- 
sity of rights and duties. Or should helpless children 

Equal Rights of all Men. 39 

and decrepit old men and women possess the same 
rights and duties as men in the prime of life? 
Should the infirm have the same rights and duties 
as the healthy, women the same rights as men? 
We are aware that many socialists advocate such 
equality, particularly the absolute equality between 
man and woman. The marriage-union, according 
to them, is "a private contract without the inter- 
vention of a public functionary." Woman may, 
according to their tenets, love whom she pleases 
and as long as she pleases. If she is not satisfied 
with one alliance, she may loose the knot and bless 
some other with her love. Married or unmarried, 
she is to enjoy perfect equality with the sterner sex. 1 

Bebel, however, may permit us to ask him : Must, 
then, men in turn with their wives rock the cradle, 
cook, knit and darn, and attend to all womanly house- 
hold duties ? And, again, must women as well as men 
descend into the mines, perform the duties of coach- 
men, draymen, sailora, etc.? Must they gird on the 
sword, take up the knapsack and rifle, and march to 
the field of battle? In order to effect such equality 
we would have to go back to the most barbarous 
times, and even then this equality would be frus- 
trated by the weakness of the female sex. For 
why did nature bestow on woman so totally different 
an organization talents, inclinations, and character- 
istics so different from those of man ? Is not this 
intellectual, moral, and physical diversity an evident 
indication that the Creator of both natures has set 
for them a totally different task in society ? 

Bebel, it is true, thinks that the difference of 
endowments and inclinations in the two sexes is 

1 Bebel, Die Frau, p. 192. 

40 Untenablencss of the Principles of Socialism. 

only the result of education or rather of that 
"slavery" to which woman has been thus far sub- 
jected, and that with the change of education and 
social standing this difference would altogether disap- 
pear. This assertion is untrue. It is sufficiently re- 
futed by the fact that this difference between man and 
woman confronts us everywhere, among all nations, 
even of the most diverse customs. It follows also 
of necessity from the physical organization of 
woman and from the duties and cares which are 
inseparably connected with motherhood. 

Apart from the diversity of age and sex, even 
though we could picture to ourselves men and 
women in equal circumstances, such equality in the 
conditions of existence of all is unnatural. We 
have only to recall to mind how different men are in 
regard to inclinations, talents, characters, health, 
physical strength, natural wants to say nothing of 
the moral differences in regard to prudence, temper- 
ance, industry, economy to see the utter impossi- 
bility of this supposed equality. From this variety 
follows also diversity in regard to honors, influence, 
property, social standing, which could be prevented 
only by continued violence. 

To bring home to ourselves with evidence the 
utter impossibility of such absolute equality, let us 
suppose, for instance, four brothers who bear the 
greatest resemblance to one another. Three of them 
get married ; the fourth prefers to remain unmarried. 
His rights and duties are quite different from those 
of the other three. Of these we shall suppose that 
one remains childless, the second has three children, 
and the third has eight. Their duties and rights 
have varied still more. Though we have admitted 
that all four brothers were, in the beginning, equally 

Equal Rights of all Men. 4 1 

situated in regard to home, property, and business 
relations, yet, after some ten years have passed, the 
conditions of their existence have become very dif- 
ferent. The first has to provide for himself only. 
The second has to provide for himself and his wife ; 
the third has to provide for five persons, and the 
fourth for ten. If now we take into account the 
difference in regard to talent, industry, etc., it 
becomes manifest that in less than half a generation 
the circumstances of the four brothers have changed 
in many regards. And if, moreover, sickness, mis- 
fortune, persecutions have exercised a disturbing 
influence upon the relations, may it not easily 
happen that within one generation the equality has 
altogether disappeared? And what differences will 
set in during the following generation which has 
already begun under such unequal conditions? 

Socialists may object that in the preceding ex- 
ample we suppose the now existing conditions of 
society, but in the socialistic state of society such a 
development would be altogether impossible, as the 
care of children, of the sick, etc., would be in the 
hands of the community, woman would take the 
same part in labor as man ; and each one would live 
upon the produce of his own labor. Very true; but 
we maintain only that inequality is the necessary 
outcome of the natural development of man, and 
that socialism could not without external violence 
prevent such inequality. A gardener may effect that 
all the trees of a park are equally high, or rather 
equally low ; but only by continued and violent 
pruning. Such an unnatural condition, however, 
cannot be lasting. 

4. So far we have taken only the family into 

42 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

consideration, But beyond the boundaries of the 
family, owing to the countless shades of inclinations 
and wants, various social gradations are formed. It 
is only by an extensive division of labor that men 
can satisfy their wants and propensities and arrive 
at a higher degree of culture. But the division of 
labor again produces as a necessary result the divi- 
sion of society into various ranks and professions, 
which have for their basis the different inclinations 
and talents of men, and afford to each individual 
the opportunity of choosing a suitable vocation. 

However we may conceive of an advanced state 
of society, there will always be ignorant people, and, 
consequently, always teachers. Have the pupil and 
the teacher the same rights and duties? There will 
always be apprentices and masters. Can the master 
and the apprentice have the same rights and duties? 
There will always be sick persons and persons de- 
crepit with old age ; and, consequently, there will 
be physicians and surgeons and nurses. Can these 
have exactly the same rights and duties as those 
intrusted to their charge ? There will always be 
agriculture, commerce, industry, science and art. 
Shall those who devote themselves to these various 
pursuits have exactly the same conditions of life? 
Shall all men and women, in the same way, be 
trained to the profession and practice of all these 
various avocations? 

The more moderate class of socialists, it is true, 
are inclined to admit different vocations with differ- 
ent emoluments in '"'the state of the future." On 
the other hand, the extremists to whom Bebel be- 
longs would do away with all inequality in the 
different vocations. By education and culture, 

Equal Rights of all Men. 43 

according to Bebel, it is possible to make all men 
fit for all professions, so that each one " in his turn*' 
is fit to discharge all the various functions of social 
life. This assumption, however, is absurd, and is 
based on an incredible exaggeration of human abili- 
ties, as we shall have occasion to show hereafter ; 
but it is quite logical, for it follows with rigid neces- 
sity from the principles of socialism. He who has 
once undertaken, on the ground of the equality of 
all men, to upset the existing order of society, and 
to create equal conditions of life for all, cannot per- 
mit that society freely adopts professions or callings 
which, in regard to emolument, labor, and dangers, 
are so widely different from one another as are, for 
instance, the professions of an author or an artist, 
and the employment of a miner, a fireman, a stable- 
boy, a hod-carrier, a laborer in a chemical factory or 

In recent times the opinion has been expressed that so- 
cialism might be satisfied with equality of gain ; that it 
actually demanded equality of all conditions of life and the 
removal of all social inequality ; but that socialism was not 
constrained, in virtue of its principles, to insist on this latter 
demand, and it would be satisfied with the equality of indus- 
trial conditions. This demand, however, is ambiguous. If 
it only implies that the law should afford all equal possi- 
bility of acquiring wealth, we already possess this equality. 
For the law of itself gives no advantage to any one more 
than to another in regard to the acquisition of wealth. But 
the socialists manifestly demand something more. If, on 
the other hand, they understand by equal industrial advan- 
tages that the state should give all its subjects the same 
means of acquiring wealth, in other words, that the state 
should make an equal distribution of property, we should 
again, within a few months or years, have a similar in- 
equality, and the division would have to be made anew, 

44 Untenablencss of tJic Principles of Socialism. 

If by equal industrial conditions they would understand 
that the state should withdraw from private control all the 
means of wealth, and make it impossible for individuals to 
acquire productive capital and bring about inequality of 
property, we have again the genuine socialistic theory. But 
the question arises : whence does the state derive the right 
to withdraw all the means of production from private con- 
trol, and to enforce this equality in the means of acquiring 
wealth ; in other words, whence does the state derive the 
right to make all capital public property, and thus violently 
to prevent the more intelligent, more industrious, and the 
abler classes from acquiring more than the indolent and 
unskilful ? Why compel all individuals, in like manner, to 
accommodate themselves in their industrial methods to the 
rule and direction of the community ? This demand can be 
justified only in the assumption of the absolute equality of 
all men, and their equal right to the goods of this earth. 
And thus we stand again upon the tacit supposition of so- 
cialism, which we have shown to be untenable that all men 
have absolutely the same rights. 

II. Undue Emphasis of Industrial Life. 

With the false supposition of the absolute equal- 
ity of all men are intimately connected other erro- 
neous assumptions. The socialists would make all 
men, without exception, take an active part in the 
plan of social production. The Gotha programme 
demands universal compulsory labor, while the Erfurt 
platform evidently supposes such an obligation. 
Every individual must enter the service of the com- 
munity and receive his portion of the common labor 
dealt out to him. No one is allowed to possess any 
productive property of his own, or to produce any- 
thing on his own account. For the satisfaction of 
all his wants he is directed to the state magazines. 
The education and instruction of youth are to be 

Undue Emphasis of Industrial Life. 45 

the business of the state, as is also the care of the 
sick. In short, every one is to have just so much 
freedom and so much right as the community con- 
cedes to him. We shall have occasion to discuss 
this point more at length hereafter. Suffice it here 
to say that in the socialistic theory society or the 
state has the unlimited rigJit of disposal over every 
individual ; that every one is destined in the first 
instance for the service of the community, and that 
for the mere purpose of industrial production. 

This is the pagan idea of the state as we find it in 
Plato and other heathen writers. It does not tolerate 
any personal rights as against the community ; it also 
virtually denies that the first and highest end of 
man upon earth is the service of God and the at- 
tainment of perfect happiness after death. As a 
logical consequence of this pagan view of the state 
and of the individual, socialism unduly exaggerates 
the importance of industrial life or the production of 
wealth. As in the life of the individual the pursuit 
of earthly goods, if estimated according to its true 
import, occupies the last place in human activity, so 
also it should be in the life of human society at 
large. The acquirement of the means of subsist- 
ence is subordinate to the higher intellectual aspira- 
tions of man. The end of earthly goods is only to 
prepare the ground upon which higher and more 
ideal goods are produced. 

Now, since it is impossible that all in the same 
way devote themselves to such various occupations, 
there must be different callings and states in life, 
which require long-continued preparation, and 
which do not all occupy the same place, but form 
a certain hierarchical order, consisting of various 

46 Untcnableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

grades subordinate to one another. By their very 
nature the various classes employed in the produc- 
tion of the necessaries of life (laborers, artisans, 
husbandmen, etc.) occupy the lowest grade, while the 
different professions naturally take a higher place 
on the social scale. We do not mean to imply, 
however, that the former are not worthy of all 
consideration and honor, or that those who are 
employed in procuring the daily necessaries of life 
have less merit before God : we would only say that 
the higher professions, considered in themselves, 
secure a higher rank in society, that they require 
higher endowments and greater culture, and, conse- 
quently, may claim greater consideration. 

Now, what is the design of socialism ? Social- 
ism will make the laboring class the ruling one, and 
make labor capacity (the production of value) the 
standard of the social organization itself and of the 
social position of each member of society. Society 
is to become one great productive union. No one 
may withdraw himself from the duty of production. 
Unproductive, useless individuals shall not be toler- 
ated. That in such an organization, in which all 
members are forced to be productive, there is no 
room for higher callings e.g., for the priesthood 
consecrated to the divine service, for religious orders, 
for those who devote themselves to arts and sciences 
for their own sake goes without saying. This 
consideration leads us to another erroneous feature 
of socialism. 

III. Materialistic View of Life. 

i. Socialism considers human life merely from its 
temporal or earthly standpoint. And, in fact, how 

Materialistic Viezv of Life. 47 

could a system which proceeds from the supposition 
that man is created by God for eternity, and is 
placed here on earth to merit heaven by the fulfil- 
ment of the divine will how could such a system 
set up material production as the highest standard 
of society, and allow a share of earthly goods only 
to those who take an actual part in production ? 
Could such a system regard religion as a matter of 
indifference or put it aside as a thing not worth 
caring for? Thus we see that the fundamental idea 
of socialism is in contradiction not only with Chris- 
tianity, but with every form of religion. The deca- 
logue of socialism are the supposed rights of men ; 
its god is the democratic, socialistic state ; its last 
end is earthly enjoyment for all ; the object of its 
worship is production. 

2. The first demand of socialism is tacitly based 
upon atheism. It demands perfect equality of rights 
and of the conditions of life for all, and that in every 
regard, but chiefly in social life. Every inequality 
in social life is characterized by socialism as an un- 
bearable fraud and oppression. Although reason and 
revelation teach that the servant should be subject 
to his master, the inferior to his superior, the wife 
to her husband, and the child to the parent, and 
that for conscience' sake, because it is the will of 
God, yet socialism considers all this as a violation 
of the equal rights and duties of all. According to 
socialistic views, each one has the right to submit to 
those laws and that authority which he himself has 
acknowledged and approved. Thus the principle of 
authority^ as coming from God and requiring obedi- 
ence for conscience' sake, is subverted. That so- 
cialism dissolves the marriage union, not only in the 

48 Untcnablcness of the Principles of Socialism. 

Christian sense, but also in the juridical sense, we 
shall have occasion to see when we treat of the rela- 
tion of socialism to the family. 

3. Socialism is no less in contradiction with Chris- 
tian teaching on the rights of property. Christ no 
more emphatically condemns the immoderate quest 
of riches, and no more forcibly recommends poverty 
of spirit as a higher degree of perfection, than He 
clearly acknowledges the justice of private property, 
also in the materials of labor. He has not abolished 
the moral precepts of the Old Law as laid down in 
the Decalogue : nay, He has enforced them anew. 1 
In the New Testament as well as in -the Old it is a 
breach of the divine law even to covet our neighbor's 
field, house, or oxen. To the rich youth who asked 
to be instructed on the way to salvation Christ an- 
swered that he should keep the commandments of 
the Decalogue ; and He added the counsel : " If 
thou wilt be perfect, sell what thou hast and give to 
the poor, . . . and come, follow Me." Could Christ 
speak thus if He considered private property, to 
which certainly belong houses and lands, as unjust? 
To Ananias St. Peter answered he might have kept 
his land if he chose. Among the first followers of 
Christ and the apostles there were many who pos- 
sessed private property (e.g., Martha, Joseph of 
Arimathea, Philemon). Like Christ Himself and 
His apostles, the Church at all times acknowledged 
the right of private property in the materials of 
labor (lands, tenements, produce, etc.). It is there- 
fore contrary to the teaching of Christianity to con- 
demn all such private property as unjust or to 
brand it as " theft," as socialism actually does. 

1 Cf. Wilmers, Lehrbuch der Religion, vol. iii, p. 72, sq. 

Materialistic View of Life. 49 

4. Christianity forbids revolution that is, a vio- 
lent subversion of the lawfully existing social order. 
But socialism is, according to the acknowledgment 
of its own leaders and representatives, an essentially 
revolutionary movement. True, when this reproach 
is made to social democrats they take refuge in 
the ambiguity of the word " revolution " ; they say 
that there are also peaceful and constitutional rev- 
olutions. However, this answer is illusory : the 
learned and cultured leaders of the social demo- 
cratic party are not so simple as to believe that all 
private owners would freely surrender their posses- 
sions to the community, that the Church would 
freely renounce its institutions and its possessions, 
that monarchs would freely descend from their 
thrones, and that the nobility would sacrifice their 
inherited rights. 

Karl Marx declared at the congress of the Hague in 1872 : 
" In most countries of Europe violence must be the lever of 
our social reform. We must finally have recourse to violence 
in order to establish the rule of labor. . . . The revolution 
must be universal, and we find a conspicuous example in 
the Commune of Paris, which has failed because in other 
capitals Berlin and Madrid a simultaneous revolutionary 
movement did not break out in connection with this mighty 
upheaval of the proletariat in Paris." These words require 
no comment. 

Bebel, commenting in the German Reichstag upon occur- 
rences in Paris, says : " These events are but a slight skir- 
mish in the war which the proletariat is prepared to wage 
against all palaces." On another occasion he declared that 
this reform cannot be brought about by sprinkling rose- 
water. In one of his works 1 he writes as follows on-the ap- 
plication of violence : " We must not shudder at the thought 
of the possible employment of violence ; we must not raise 

1 Unsere Ziele, p. 44. 

50 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

an alarm-cry at the suppression of 'existing rights,' at 
violent expropriation, etc. History teaches that at all times 
new ideas, as a rule, were realized by a violent conflict with 
the defenders of the past, and that the combatants for new 
ideas struck as deadly blows as possible at the defenders of 
antiquity. Not without reason does Karl Marx, in his work 
on Capital, exclaim : Violence is the obstetrician that waits 
on every ancient society which is about to give birth to a 
new one ; violence is in itself a social factor." From all this 
it appears to evidence that socialism and Christianity are no 
less opposed to each other than darkness and light, and that 
whoever knows what socialism is, and what it aims at, can 
only at the sacrifice of Christianity and religion in general 
join its ranks. 

5. Yet why should we labor so much to show the 
conflict between socialism and Christianity while we 
have the express official testimony of the socialists 
themselves upon the fact ? The German social 
democracy in its official platform declares religion 
to be a " private matter." Thus the socialistic 
state, at least, is altogether divorced from religion, 
non-religious and atheistic. And since the entire 
education of youth, according to socialists, is the 
business of the state, it follows that education 
should take no cognizance of religion ; in other 
words, that it should be non-religious and godless. 
The community as such should not concern itself 
with God and religion, but must consider both as 
equally indifferent. Such principles can manifestly 
proceed only from contempt of religion, and can 
only lead to open persecution of the Church. Let 
us suppose that the Church wishes to erect bishoprics 
and parishes, to appoint priests for the care of souls, 
to control the religious education of youth, to make 
laws and regulations in regard to marriage, to in- 

Materialistic View of Life. 5 * 

stitute feasts, etc. would, in that case, the socialistic 
state leave the Church at perfect liberty ? Would it 
be possible for church and state, which are both con- 
cerned with the same human beings, to avoid a con- 
flict ? And if the socialistic state would force priests 
and religious, nay, even bishops, to abandon their 
vocations and to contribute their share to the public 
production of wealth would not that be an open 
violation of the Church's rights ? Would it not lead 
to perpetual conflicts, which would finally develop 
into downright persecution ? And what would be 
the result if the Church would claim a right to at 
least so much ground as would suffice for its 
churches, convents, parsonages, hospitals, seminaries, 
etc., and, moreover, if it should demand labor-power 
and materials for the erection of such institutions? 
Would not the socialistic state, in that case, from its 
standpoint, be forced flatly to refuse such demands 
on the part of the Church, and thus violate the 
Church's most sacred rights, and take away, as it 
were, the ground from beneath her feet ? The ap- 
parent permission of religion in the socialistic state 
as a private affair is, therefore, a mere illusion. 
Socialists are not prepared to give offence to those 
who still maintain in their hearts some attachment 
to religion by demanding from them all at once the 
surrender of religion. Of its very nature socialism 
is the enemy of every religion which undertakes to 
raise the aspirations of men from earth to heaven, 
and to preach to man that he does not live on bread 

6. It is not by mere chance that the most noted 
socialists are so outspoken in their hatred of religion, 

5 2 Untcnablcness of the Principles of Socialism. 

and that they generally indulge in the most irreligious 
and blasphemous language against religion. 

The expression " draft on eternity " ( Wechsel auf das 
Jenseits), the trite blasphemy with which they characterize 
the Christian efforts of social reform, is well known. The 
Social-Demokrat, the recent official organ of the German 
socialists, had almost on every page the most virulent abuse 
of what it called "clerical ascendency," and was generally 
bristling with the most shocking blasphemies. And 
its successor, the Berlin Volksblatt, the present official 
party organ, yields in naught to its predecessor. In a 
Christmas reflection (No. 301) it accuses Christianity of ful- 
filling none of its promises. " We know," it says, " that 
Christianity has not brought redemption. We believe in 
no Redeemer; but we believe in redemption. No man, no 
God in human form, no Saviour, can redeem humanity. 
Only humanity itself only laboring humanity can save 

Karl Marx allows no opportunity to pass without an open 
or covert thrust at Christianity. According to him, religion 
is an "absurd popular sentiment," a "fantastic degradation 
of human nature." "Man makes religion," he says, " not 
religion man." Then, again, religion is "the sentiment of a 
heartless world, as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It 
is the opinion of the people." "The abolition of religion as 
the deceptive happiness of the people is a necessary condi- 
tion for their true happiness." " Religion is only an illusory 
sun, which revolves around man as long as man fails to 
revolve around himself." 1 

Bebel, in the words of the frivolous poet Heine, leaves 
" heaven to the angels and the sparrows." 2 Theology, if we 
are to believe him, is in contradiction with natural science, 
and will disappear in the society of the future. 3 Again : 
"The conviction that heaven is on this earth," and that " to 

1 Deutsch-Franzos. Jahrblicher; Paris, 1844, p. 71. Volksblatt, 
No. 281. Kapital, vol. i. p. 19. 
8 Unsere Ziele, p. 38. 
8 Die Frau, p. 183. 

Socialistic Theory of Value. 53 

die is to end all," will, in his opinion, impel all to live a 
natural life. 1 Another leader of the social democrats 
characterizes their philosophy as " atheism in religion, 
democratic republicanism in politics, collectivism in social 
economy." 2 

Liebknecht is of opinion that the dependence of the 
forms of religion upon economic conditions is so evident 
that there is no need of a conflict with religion. " We may 
peacefully take our stand upon the ground of socialism, and 
thus conquer the stupidity of the masses in as far as this 
stupidity reveals itself in religious forms and dogmas." 3 

Dietzgen, in his blasphemous sermons on " Religion and 
Social Democracy," surpasses all others in his savage on- 
slaught against religion. As a characteristic of his style 
we quote the following: " If religion is to be understood as 
a belief in supersensible, material substances and forces, if 
it consists in a belief in higher gods and spirits, [social] 
democracy has no religion. In the place of religion it sets 
up the consciousness of the insufficiency of the indi- 
vidual, who for his perfection requires to be supplemented, 
and, consequently, subordinated to the entire body social. 
A cultured human society is the supreme good in which we 
believe. Our hope rests upon the organization of social 
democracy. This organization shall make that /0z/^ a reality 
for which religious fanatics have displayed such irrational 
enthusiasm." 4 


I. Socialistic Theory of Value. 

CAPITAL, according to Karl Marx, comes to the 
world " dripping from every pore from head to foot 
with blood and dirt." 5 It is, according to its very 

1 Die Frau, p. 188. 

2 Schaffle, Aussichtslosigkeit der Socialdemokratie, p. 3. 

3 Berliner Volksblatt, 1890, No. 281. 

4 Religion der Socialdemokratie, pp. 33, 34. 
6 Kapital, 4 ed., p. 726. 

54 Untcnablcness of the Principles of Socialism. 

nature, nothing else than the unpaid-for, stolen labor 
of the workman ; or, as Lassalle calls it, " ill-gotten 
gain." In order to substantiate this death verdict 
on capital Marx avails himself, as we have seen, 
of his peculiar theory of value. He distinguishes 
two kinds of value value in use and value in ex- 
change. Value in use consists in the utility of an 
object to satisfy human wants ; value in exchange 
consists in the ratio in which commodities are ex- 
changeable for one another. Value in use, it is 
true, forms the basis of value in exchange, in so far 
as only useful things can have exchange-value. But 
in other respects value in exchange is entirely inde- 
pendent of value in use. The exchange-value is 
determined by the labor embodied in an object. 
By labor, however, we are not to understand here 
this or that kind of labor e.g., tailoring or shoe- 
making but human "labor in the abstract." 

" A value in use cr an object has value (exchange-value) 
because human labor considered in the abstract is embodied 
or materialized in it. But how are we to measure the 
amount of its value? By the amount of 'value-creating 
substance,' i.e., labor, contained in it. The quantity of labor 
itself is determined by the time employed, and the labor- 
time again is measured by the unit of certain periods, as 
hours, days, etc." * By labor-time we are to understand, 
according to the explanation of Marx, the " socially neces- 
sary labor-time," or the time required " to produce a certain 
value with given normal social conditions of production, and 
with the average social degree of skill and intensity of 
labor." 2 How Marx has utilized the principle that 
exchange-value is something intrinsically independent of 
use-value and consists only in " crystallized labor-time " for 
the explanation of capitalistic "surplus-making," we have 
already shown. 

1 Kapital, p. 5. 2 Ibid., p. 14. 

Socialistic Theory of Value. 55 

For the fundamental principle that the exchange- 
value of an object is not determined by its use-value, 
but exclusively by the labor expended upon it, 
Marx can appeal to the authority of the greatest 
political economists, Adam Smith, Ricardo, and 
others. Socialism in this as in many other regards 
is only the lineal descendant of liberalism ; it only 
draws the logical inferences from the principles of 
liberalism. Not until Marx, Lassalle, and other 
socialists had taken hold of this principle to use it 
as a deft weapon against private capital did any 
misgiving arise concerning it ; then authors began to 
abandon it. 

Marx, moreover, rightly distinguishes between 
value in use and value in exchange. This distinc- 
tion we find already adopted by Aristotle 1 and his 
commentators. Aristotle distinguishes a twofold 
use of earthly goods : the one is proper to an object 
according to its peculiar character (xprjo'is oiKeioi) ; 
the other is common to it with all other objects 
(Xpr/o-is OVK oiKeia). The philosopher illustrates 
this distinction "by the example of a shoe. A shoe 
has a twofold use : the first is peculiar to it in con- 
tradistinction to other objects, and consists in this, 
that it can be used for the protection of the foot ; 
the second consists in this, that it may be exchanged 
for other goods. This second use is common to the 
shoe with all other objects of merchandise. It may 
therefore be called common use or secondary use. 

This distinction of use-value is much clearer, simpler, and 
more objective than those which we generally meet with in 
the works of modern political economists. Many call use- 

1 Politic. I. 9. St. Thorn, in I. Pol. 1. 7. Silv. Maurus in I. 
Polit. c. 6, n. 2. 

56 Untcnablcness of the Principles of Socialism. 

value the fitness of an object for the use of the possessor 
himself, and exchange-value the fitness of the object to be 
given in exchange. But exchange itself is a use of the ob- 
ject by the possessor. Consequently the first member of the 
definition contains also the second. Others call use-value 
immediate value, and exchange-value mediate value. 
Others 1 again reject this distinction altogether, and divide 
value into subjective and objective. As often as we shall, 
according to the ruling custom, distinguish between use- 
value and exchange-value, we shall understand by use-value 
the fitness of an article for all kinds of use, the use of ex- 
change alone excepted. 

If Marx had confined himself to the distinction 
of these two kinds of value, no serious objection 
could be raised against him ; but he has completely 
rent them asunder. Value in use, according to him, 
is no factor in the determination of value in ex- 
change. But this assertion on his part is unproved 
and incorrect. 

I. It is unproved. The chief argument which 
Marx adduces for his opinion is the following: 
Value in exchange must be something common to all 
merchandise ; but this common element cannot be 
anything else than the human labor embodied in 
it, taken in the abstract. Therefore the labor con- 
tained in an object forms its exchange- value. 

We grant that exchange-value is something com- 
mon to all merchandise, because the various objects 
of merchandise may be compared with each other 
according to their value in exchange. But we deny 
that this common element consists in the labor con- 
tained in them alone. Marx does not produce any 
arguments for this opinion, but only mere assertions. 

1 Schonberg's Handbuch der politischen Oekonomie, 2 ed., vol. 
i. p. 156. 

Socialistic Theory of Value. 57 

"The common element in all kinds of wares cannot be a 
geometrical, physical, chemical, or any other natural quality 
of the goods themselves. Their physical properties come 
into consideration only in as far as they go to constitute 
their utility or use-value. On the other hand, the exchange- 
ableness of wares is evidently characterized by abstracting 
from their usefulness. Tn regard to exchange the use-value 
of one object is just as much as the use-value of another, 
provided it be forthcoming in due proportion. As to their 
use-value, goods, in the first instance, differ in quality; but 
as to their exchange-value they differ only in quantity, and 
contain not a particle of use-value." 1 

This passage contains only assertions in lieu of 
arguments ; nay, false statements presented to us as 
" evident." And upon these statements depends the 
whole system of Karl Marx. We are surprised, in 
fact, that Marx so confidently affirms without proof 
that apart from labor there is no common element in 
different goods. Aristotle, to whom he repeatedly 
appeals, could have taught him better. This great 
philosopher teaches expressly that there is a com- 
mon element in all wares, according to which they 
can be compared with one another and estimated. 
This common measure or standard of exchangeable 
goods, according to the philosopher, 2 is usefulness, 
that is, their fitness for supplying the wants of man- 

2. But the assertion of Marx that labor alone 
constitutes exchange-value is not only gratuitous: 
it is also untrue. Unwittingly Marx himself has 
written his own refutation. He says : Within the 

1 Kapital, p. 12. 

2 z/ei apa evi TIVL itdvra uerpeicr^ai . . . TOVTO 
d'ecrrl Ty jiiev a/b/$ez'a 1} ;r/3ez'cr, 77 Ttavra crvve%ei. Ethic, 
v. 3. 

58 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

same ratio of exchange value, the use-value of one 
object is as great as that of another if the commodity 
is only forthcoming in the same proportion. Why 
must the use-value be forthcoming in the same 
proportion ? Evidently because in the determi- 
nation of the exchange-value the usefulness of an 
object is by no means indifferent, but a decisive ele- 
ment. Moreover, how is it that, even according to 
the concessions of Marx himself, usefiil objects only 
can have exchange-value for society? Certainly 
because use-value or utility is an essential element 
in exchange-value. If one, for instance, with the 
greatest expenditure of labor manufactured boots 
from pasteboard, yet he could not find sale for them, 
they would have no exchange-value, because they 
would be useless ; in other words, because they would 
have no use-value. Use-value is, therefore, an essential 
element of exchange-value. 

But there are objects of use-value which have no 
exchange-value. Air and light, for instance, are 
useful though not exchangeable commodities. 
Very true ; but what follows from this fact ? Only 
this, that mere usefulness does not suffice to con- 
stitute exchange-value ; that other conditions must 
be added ; but it by no means follows that those 
things which have exchange-value do not owe this 
value at least in part to their usefulness. What 
would Marx say to the following argument ? There 
are men who are no artists ; therefore the notion of 
man does not belong to the notion of an artist. 
The conclusion drawn by Marx is no more logical. 
In order that a useful object may have exchange- 
value it must be fit to pass into the exclusive posses- 
sion of an individual, and must not be forthcoming 

Socialistic Theory of Value. 59 

in such quantities that all can dispose of it at pleas- 
ure. But this supposed, the exchange-value of an 
object depends chiefly upon its use-value, or utility. 
In the primeval forests of South America wood has 
no exchange-value, either because there is no one to 
use it, or because every one can have it for nothing, 
like air and water. But suppose a merchant brings 
several shiploads of different kinds of wood to a 
European harbor, what will then be the standard of 
its value ? Is it the amount of labor, the amount of 
expense and time, which the transportation has cost? 
Certainly not ; otherwise all different species of 
wood conveyed from South America would sell at 
the same price, which is not the case. The better 
and more durable material will sell at a higher 
rate. Fine cedar or mahogany, abstracting alto- 
gether from the labor expended on it, has a much 
greater exchange-value than pine or birch. 

By a thousand such instances we might show that 
the value or price of an article is determined in the 
first place by the general estimate of its usefulness. 
Good wine sells at a higher rate than bad wine, al- 
though the vintner may have "expended the same 
amount of labor on the preparation of both. Why 
do our mine-owners sell coal from the same mine at 
different prices? Because the quality is different. 
In short, it is the quality, or the different degrees of 
objective goodness, that generally determines the ex- 
change-value of objects independently of the amount 
of labor consumed upon them. 

It would be carrying coal to Newcastle to at- 
tempt any further proofs of this truth. Nor can it 
be objected against the examples alleged that in all 
cases labor is necessary to give the object real ex- 

60 Untenablcness of the Principles of Socialism. 

changeable value, for we do not deny that labor 
has a certain influence upon the exchange-value ; 
but we do say that labor alone does not constitute 
exchange-value. For the rest, labor generally comes 
into account only as far as it tends to give useful- 
ness to a thing. Besides, there are in nature also 
objects which require no labor in order to be made 
useful, but which may be directly appropriated and 
exchanged for other commodities. Such are, for in* 
stance, coal oil, wild fruits, etc. 1 

If that which gives exchange-value to things is 
not labor alone, but above all their utility and fitness 
to supply human wants, all further inferences against 
modern private capital which Marx thence deduces 
have no convincing force. Most particularly is the 
conclusion incorrect that the exchange-value of 
human labor-power is to be determined by the 
expense of its production. For even in the sup- 
position that two laborers required exactly the same 
amount for the sustenance of themselves and their 
families, yet their labor-power could have quite 
different exchange-values, if the one was more ex- 
pert, more talented, skilful, and trusty than the 
other. What determines the exchange-value of 
labor-power as well as of all other commodities is, in 
the first place, its usefulness. 

To meet a possible objection we would here re- 
mark that even in the socialistic state the exchange- 
value of goods would still remain, and could not, 
even in socialistic circumstances, be determined by 
the labor spent in its production ; for not only in 
commerce with foreign nations, but also in the 

1 Cf. Von Hammerstein, S. J., Stimmen aus Maria Laach, vol. 
x. p. 426. Hitze, Kapital und Arbeit, 1880, p. 9, sq. 

The Iron Law of Wages. 61 

division of produce among individuals, the exchange- 
value of goods would have to be taken into account, 
and even in this case it would be determined chiefly 
by the standard of usefulness. If two laborers in 
the socialistic state would perform the same amount 
of work, it would be unjust to give to one as a re- 
muneration a case of Johannisberger or Ru'des- 
heimer, and to the other the same amount of bad 
Mosel wine, or cider, on the plea that both the pro- 
ductions cost the same amount of labor. So also in 
the socialistic state more labor could be procured 
by a peck of good wheat than by the same amount 
of bad wheat, although the expenditure of labor 
upon the bad wheat may be just the same as upon 
the good. The same may be said of all similar com- 

II. The Iron Laiv of Wages. 

i. The iron law of wages was the chief weapon 
used by Lassalle against existing capitalism. Here- 
in liberal social economists, Adam Smith, Ricardo, 
J. B. Say, and others had prepared the way for him. 
Lassalle appeals with seeming comfort to these 
great authorities in establishing his iron law. 

"The iron economic law," says Lassalle, " which in our 
day, under the rule of supply and demand, determines 
the wages of the laborer, is the following: The average 
wages is always confined to the necessary sustenance which, 
according to the custom of a given nation, is necessary to 
insure the possibility of existence and propagation. This 
is the point around which actual wages oscillates like the 
swing of a pendulum, without ever remaining long either 
above or below this standard. Wages cannot permanently 
rise over 'this average ; otherwise there would result from 
the easier and better condition of the laborers an increase 

62 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

of the laboring population and a supply of hands which 
would again reduce the wages to, or even below, the average 

" Nor can wages permanently fall below the average of the 
necessary sustenance of life ; for this would give rise to 
emigration, celibacy, prevention of propagation, and finally 
the diminution of the laboring population by want, which 
consequently would reduce the supply of hands and again 
raise wages to its former or even a higher rate. The actual 
average wages consists, therefore, in a constant undulation 
around this centre of gravity, to which it must always return, 
around which it must revolve, standing sometimes above 
and sometimes below." ' 

"That laborers and wages continually revolve in a circle, 
the circumference of which can at most reach the margin of 
what is barely sufficient to satisfy the necessary wants of 
human sustenance .... is a circumstance which never 
changes." * 

Lassalle, it is true, admits that these customary necessities 
of life are greater in our day than in former times ; but 
notwithstanding all this the laboring classes are, in given 
social circumstances, always confined to what is barely 
necessary for the continuance of existence and of propaga- 
tion. Therefore, according to Lassalle, the laborer has no 
prospect of bettering his condition. 3 

According to the teaching of Ricardo, the average wages 
will always, in the long run, coincide with the cost of 
production. Ricardo distinguishes between the natural 
price and the market price of labor. The natural price is 
that which is necessary generally to make existence and 
propagation possible. The market price, on the other hand, 
is that which under the law of supply and demand is actually 
paid for labor. The latter may sometimes exceed the 
natural price, and sometimes fall below it ; but it will always 
fall back to the natural price. It may be conceded that 
Lassalle has expressed this law in more odious terms than 

1 Offenes Antwortschreiben, p. 10. Arbeiter-Lesebuch, p. 5. 

2 Offenes Antwortschreiben, p. 12. 

3 Arbeiter-Lesebuch, p. 27. 

The Iron Law of Wages. 63 

did Ricardo, but in substance their teaching exactly coin- 
cides. Besides Ricardo, Adam Smith, and Say, Lassalle cites 
for his opinion also Malthus, Bastiat, and John Stuart Mill. 

2. This is the dreadful law of which socialists 
have made use until the most recent times to dis- 
credit the institution of private property. 1 But 
they appeal to this law without reason ; for al- 
though the law were correct nothing would thence 
follow against private ownership. For the law is 
based upon the supposition of unlimited competi- 
tion in industry and the supreme rule of supply 
and demand ; but these excesses can be remedied 
without the wholesale abolition of private prop- 
erty. Until the most recent times there existed 
almost everywhere certain social restrictions which 
afforded protection to the weak against the unjust 
oppression of the strong. It is the business of 
economic policy to see that by the co-operation of 
civil legislation, on the one hand, and private effort, 
on the other, a certain organization may be brought 
about, suited to the modern conditions of industry, 
which will secure protection for the weak against 
the violence of the strong. If this is once attained, 
the iron wage law, as conceived and formulated by 
Lassalle, will soon fall into abeyance. 

Social democrats in their attacks against the ex- 
isting order of things are cunning, but not always 
honest. " Behold the dread iron law of wages, 
which fastens you to want and misery. Only social 
democracy can relieve you ! " Thus they exclaim 
in the meetings of the laboring classes ; just as if 
every one who disapproved of unlimited competition 

1 Cf. Gotha programme, given above. 

64 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

was bound to join the socialistic ranks. But the 
most noted socialists know full well that between 
unlimited competition and socialism there are many 
stages. We Catholics too and we believe that 
orthodox Protestants agree with us on this point 
wish that the laboring and agricultural classes be 
legally protected against the ascendancy of capital ; 
we too wish to contribute to the utmost of our 
power towards securing even for the humblest 
laborer a comfortable domestic life. What is neces- 
sary for this consummation we have had occa- 
sion to show at greater length in our treatment 
of the rights of the state. 1 Here we shall only 
say that socialism is not the right remedy against 
existing social ills. It may remove, it is true, 
unlimited competition ; but it can remove it only by 
the suppression of all free action, by forcing all the 
members of the state into the grooves of a mechan- 
ical industrial state organization. 

3. We might content ourselves with the preceding 
exposition as far as the defence of private property is 
concerned. But since the iron wage law plays such 
a prominent part in socialistic literature we deem 
it expedient here to submit it to a closer examina- 

a. If by the iron law Lassalle would only assert 
that under the rule of supply and demand a certain 
tendency exists to confine wages generally to what 
is barely necessary for the support of life, we would 
have no quarrel with him. For this tendency is a 
natural result of the selfishness of the rich, who are 
at the same time the mightier class. The average 
man is naturally inclined to purchase at a low and 

1 Cf. Moralphilosophie, vol. ii. p. 508, sqq. 

The Iron Law of Wages. 65 

to sell at a high rate. As the laborer wishes to sell 
his labor-power at the highest possible rate, so also 
the employer will endeavor to purchase labor at the 
lowest possible figure. But the rich employer is 
commonly the mightier, and will therefore succeed 
oftener to reduce wages below the normal figure than 
the laborer will succeed in raising it above the 
normal standard. Yet this universal tendency, which 
is the result of human selfishness, is by no means an 
economic law ; else it might be also regarded as an 
economic law that dealers adulterate goods and that 
men grow rich by idleness. 

b. That Lassalle's principle can be regarded as 
an economic law lacks every semblance of proof. 1 
In order that an economic law, in the proper sense 
of the word, may be established, we must have a fact 
which from certain permanent causes necessarily 
exists in all places and at all times. This, however, 
is not the case with the supposed law of Lassalle ; 
or, if it is, it has not thus far been proved. Let us 
examine the arguments which Lassalle, and before 
him Ricardo, adduces. 

Wages, he says, cannot permanently rise beyond 
the average of what is barely necessary, according to 
custom, for the support of life ; for else there would 
result an increase of the laboring population, and 
consequently of the supply of labor hands, which 
would again reduce wages to the former standard. 
But is it true, let us ask, that the laboring popula- 
tion will increase in the same proportion as the 
comforts of life ? Such a statement cannot be borne 

1 Cf. Von Hammerstein, Stimmen aus Maria Laach, vol. x. 
p. 442 ; Schonberg's Handbuch der politischen Oekonomie, vol. i. 
p. 638, sq. 

66 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

out ; experience rather teaches the contrary. He 
who would find large families in England, say, must 
not seek them in the dwellings of the better-to-do 
laborers, or wealthier classes, but in the poorest 
tenements of the Irish laborers. In like manner, in 
America large families are to be found generally 
among the poorer classes of immigrants, while the 
birth-rate among the wealthier classes is notoriously 
low. Again, there is no land whose population 
generally is better off than France, and in no land is 
the rate of increase of population so low. And the 
reason is evident, even though we abstract altogether 
from religious influence. The better off a laboring 
family is the more it is concerned, as a rule, to main- 
tain its social standing and to rise to a still higher 
rank. Rash marriages are more rarely entered upon 
in such circles than in the lower phases of society. 
It does not follow, however, that morals are purer 
in the higher than in the lower strata of society. 
There is another feature of the question, however, 
which Lassalle overlooks. Granted that better cir- 
cumstances would produce an increase of population, 
yet it does not thence follow that the competition of 
the laborers would increase in like manner, for it 
would take a period of from sixteen to twenty years 
at least to produce any marked effect of such in- 
crease. Children are not from their very birth 
capable of competition. Consequently, according 
to the supposition of Lassalle, a laborer could for 
well-nigh a generation receive more wages than 
would be " necessary, according to existing customs, 
for the support of life and for propagation." 

It may also happen that, despite the increase of 
the supply of labor wages does not diminish, as with 

The Iron Law of Wages. 67 

the supply also the demand may increase. If the 
demand for labor increases in the same proportion 
as the supply, wages remains the same ; but it may 
easily happen that in many places, owing to new 
enterprises, the demand for labor may steadily in- 
crease for years, so that the increase of the number 
of laborers does not necessarily entail the diminu- 
tion of wages. 

We have no proof, therefore, that wages cannot 
for a considerable time exceed what is necessary for 
the maintenance of life. Nor has Lassalle proved 
that wages may not in some cases remain perma- 
nently below this standard. In that case he thinks 
emigration, celibacy, restriction of propagation, and 
finally a decrease of the laboring population result- 
ing from misery would ensue, which would lessen 
the supply of labor hands and would bring wages 
back again to its former standard. 

But, as we have already remarked, poverty does 
not lessen the birth-rate unless in the extreme case 
in which the laborers are literally starved. It can 
easily happen, and has happened, sad to say, that in 
many places the laboring classes have for a long 
time led a wretched life in the sense of Lassalle, 
without any perceptible diminution in the birth-rate. 
Poverty does not prevent marriages among the poor, 
nor does it prevent propagation. The poor are pre- 
cisely in this respect often much more conscientious 
than those who call themselves the cultured classes. 
For the rest, even though poverty might produce a 
decrease in the birth-rate among the laborers, yet 
the effects of this diminution would be noticeable in 
the labor market only after the lapse of many years. 
In the mean time the gaps would be filled up by new 

68 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

laborers coming from surrounding districts. Marx 
has established, on the data of inquiries made by 
physicians and inspectors of factories, that in many 
manufacturing districts the laborers had lived for 
many years in the most wretched misery without 
experiencing any increase of wages. 1 Lassalle's law, 
therefore, whether we consider it from its favora- 
ble or unfavorable aspect, remains unproved. 

But it is not only unproved : it is simply false. 
The principal touchstone of economic laws are facts. 
Now what are the facts in regard to Lassalle's law ? 
Is it true that laborers universally, at all times and 
in all places, obtain wages barely sufficient for the 
support of life and for propagation, and that they 
are confined within the limits of what is barely nec- 
essary? The question put in this way very soon 
reveals the exaggeration of Lassalle's statement. It 
is a fact that laborers often receive miserable wages 
too little to live, too much to die. But there are 
also notable exceptions. We know many manufac- 
turers who pay sufficient wages to their laborers 
wages on which they can live decently, provided 
they have only a sense of order, temperance, and 
economy. But if the laborers would transform every 
Sunday into a day of revel their wages will certainly 
be insufficient. We here abstract from the fact that 
in all branches of industry there are many skilled 
laborers who receive higher pay, and to whom the 
iron law does not at all apply. And yet if this were 
an universal law it would also be applicable to this 
class of laborers. 

Lassalle's law is, therefore, unproved and untrue, 
and cannot be used as a weapon against the existing 

1 Kapital, p. 613. 

The Iron Law of Wages. 69 

social order, much less can it be considered as a 
basis for the socialistic movement. If, however, 
from the sad facts which Lassalle advances to prove 
the existence of his iron law, and which we have in 
great part conceded, the conclusion should be in- 
ferred that unlimited competition is of evil, we are 
perfectly in accord with such an inference. 

Karl Marx from the outset rejected Lassalle's iron law of 
wages. Nay, in his " Criticism of the Social Democratic 
Programme " he characterizes the insertion of this law in 
the platform as a " revolting retrogression ;" and rightly 
so, from his own standpoint. According to Lassalle, the 
injustice of the wage system consists only in this, that the 
laborer's wages can never go beyond a low maximum, and 
thus the wage-worker is doomed to a miserable existence. 
According to Marx, the wage system in the capitalistic 
order of things is absolutely unjust and intolerable, because 
it makes the laborer the slave of the capitalist, and permits 
the workman to labor for his sustenance only, with the obli- 
gation to work a certain portion of the time for nothing 
merely to produce "surplus-value" for the capitalist. For 
"surplus-value" is always effected at the cost of the laborer; 
and as the capitalist is then only willing to carry on indus- 
try when his money is likely to produce "surplus-value," 
capital is of its very nature calculated for oppression. It is 
a " pitiless beast of prey." Hence he was forced to consider 
the adoption of Lassalle's iron law in the socialistic pro- 
gramme as a step backwards. Nay, the adoption of this 
law was diametrically opposed to, and an abandonment of, 
Marx's theory of "surplus-value." Hence we can easily 
understand his indignation at finding the iron law on the 
socialistic platform. 

For the iron law of wages Marx substituted his theory of 
the so-called " industrial reserve army," or the "army of 
superfluous laborers, as the Erfurt programme calls it. 
Marx describes this idle army as a leaden weight that handi- 
caps the laborer, a ballast which depresses wages to the 
lowest level, according to the exigence of capital. " That 

7O Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

law, which maintains the equilibrium between the surplus 
population or ' industrial reserve army ' and the extent and 
intensity of accumulation, binds labor and capital faster 
together than the bolts of Hephaestus riveted Prometheus 
to the rocks. It brings in its wake an accumulation of 
misery proportioned to the accumulation of capital. The 
accumulation of wealth at one pole means at the same time 
die accumulation of misery, vexation, slavery, ignorance, 
bestialization, and moral degradation at the opposite pole, 
that is, on the part of that class who are constrained to 
bring forth whatever they produce as capital." 1 

The "innate" laws of the capitalistic system with its un- 
limited competition effect that tradesmen and small manu- 
facturers are supplanted by large industries and sink to the 
level of the proletariat. Then comes the turn of the capi- 
talists themselves : the weaker capitalists are "slaughtered " 
by the stronger, and likewise fall back into the ranks of the 
proletarians. Hand in hand with this process of demoli- 
tion goes another process, which tends to make the laborer 
superfluous. Competition forces the employer to ever 
cheaper production. He must, therefore, not only compel 
the laborer to prolong his labor as much as possible beyond 
the necessary labor- time, and substitute for the work of the 
laboring man the cheaper work of women and children ; but 
he must also endeavor by the aid of machinery to make 
labor as productive as possible ; nay, as far as possible, he 
must endeavor to make laborers superfluous. While, there- 
fore, the capitalistic system, on the one hand, increases the 
ranks of the proletariat, it tends to make them, on the other 
hand, ever more superfluous. At times when industry is at 
high pressure the proletarians, who are always at the disposal 
of capital, are called into requisition ; but on the approach 
of a crisis they are again "thrown into the streets," without 
employment. With the increase of the proletariat goes 
hand in hand the increase of misery ! 

That many of the phenomena pointed out by Marx are 
not merely the productions of an overheated imagination is 
but too true. To crown his description of the misery of 

1 Kapital, p. 611. 

The Iron Law of Wages. 71 

the laboring classes, he opens to us a horrible vista into the 
indescribable misery of the laborer in the most advanced of 
all industrial nations England. We do not deny the facts ; 
but we emphatically deny the correctness of the causes 
assigned by Marx. His exposition is altogether founded on 
his theory of " surplus-value," a factor of his theory on value 
in general, which we refuted above (p. 18). If the principle 
is proved to be false, the inferences will of themselves fall to 
the ground. Moreover, Marx's procedure presupposes his 
" materialistic view of history as an immanent (material) 
process of development." 

The facts advanced by Marx, in as far as they can be 
shown to be true facts, may be explained without his theory 
of "surplus value." They are the natural and necessary 
outcome of the liberal economic system. After the disinte- 
gration of society by the demolition of the classes and cor- 
porations of former times, and the introduction of absolute 
freedom of industry, the wild and disorderly struggle of 
competition began, in which craft and fraud and violence 
bore the victory. This struggle, together with modern 
mechanical discoveries, which proved advantageous almost 
exclusively to the capitalists, necessarily proved a disad- 
vantage to the middle classes, and swelled the numbers of 
the proletariat. Add to this the increase of that pagan, 
materialistic selfishness that knows no principle of justice 
or charity, but makes all things subservient to self-interest, 
and it becomes easily intelligible that, without an " imma- 
nent " process of evolution in the sense of Herr Marx, such 
conditions of human misery as he describes, and as actually 
exist in some countries, may easily be induced. 

As these conditions have been brought about, not by the 
laws of internal evolution, but by a perverse social policy, 
they may also be remedied by the opposite social policy, 
particularly by legislative protection of the weaker classes, 
by the institution and furtherance of co-operative organiza- 
tions among the lower classes, but most especially by the 
revival of a true Christian spirit in society. 

72 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

III. Liberalism the Root of the Evil. 

After we have examined the principles of social- 
ism, we may now answer the question in what rela- 
tion it stands to modern liberalism. By liberalism 
we do not here understand, as is manifest, a certain 
political party known under this name, but rather a 
revolutionary and anti-Christian tendency in political, 
social, and religious matters. Socialists themselves 
acknowledge that they have only drawn the logical 
conclusions of those principles set up by liberals; 
and liberalism is accused by Catholics generally of 
having given birth to socialism. The liberals, on 
their part, with horror and indignation disclaim all 
connection with socialism. Liberalism does not 
profess, so say its defenders, to abolish private prop- 
erty : it will only make ownership free. Nor does it 
profess to advocate a servile industrial organization : 
it only advocates unrestricted freedom for all. 

Notwithstanding all the protestations of the liber- 
als, we cannot but consider socialism as the lineal 
descendant of liberalism, however much the parent 
may try to disown its offspring. The question is 
this, whether the principles set up and defended by 
liberals logically lead to socialism or not ; and this 
question we believe must be answered in the affirma- 
tive. We are the more willing to enter fully upon 
this question since the answer to it will give us an 
opportunity to expose the true sources of the mod- 
ern revolutionary movement. It would be erroneous 
to regard socialism, which now threateningly raises 
its head in all civilized nations, as an artificial move- 
ment, brought about by a few revolutionary char- 

Liberalism the Root of the Evil. 73 

acters. No ; this movement is a natural outgrowth 
of the modern social development, which owes its 
existence to liberalism. 

i. The deepest roots of socialism are atheism and 
materialism. True, many atheists prefer to call 
themselves " monists " in order to escape the odious 
name of materialists ; but it is all the same. For, 
whether we deify matter or reduce God into matter, 
it imports little, as both processes lead to the same 
result. Both theories equally contain the germs of 
socialism. If it is once admitted that all ends with 
this life, that man has no higher destiny than the 
lower animals which wallow in the mud, who, then, 
can require of the poor and oppressed, whose life is 
a continued struggle for existence, that they bear 
their hard lot with patience and resignation, and 
look on with indifference while their neighbors are 
clad in purple and fine linen, and daily revel at 
sumptuous banquets ? Who can prove to them 
from the standpoint of atheism that it is meet and 
just that one should pine in poverty and want while 
another enjoys abundance of all things, since all 
have the same nature, and no reason can be given on 
atheistic grounds why the goods of this world should 
belong to one rather than to another? If the athe- 
istic and materialistic theory is true, the demands of 
socialism are certainly just that all the goods and 
enjoyments of this life should be equally divided 
among all ; that it is, therefore, unjust that one 
should live in a magnificent palace and enjoy all 
pleasures without labor, while another is living in a 
squalid cellar or cold garret, and cannot even with 
the greatest effort obtain enough bread to appease 
his hunger. 

74 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

Now, who is it that has preached and propagated 
atheism in all its forms? Who has fought by all 
ways and means to restrict the influence of Christi- 
anity in the school and in public life ? Who is it 
that raised Darwinism to a dogma and popularized 
it for the ignorant masses ? Who is it that even in 
our own day, in speech and in writing, in the chairs 
of universities and in public assemblies, preaches 
the grossest atheism? It is the representatives of 
liberalism, beginning with the French Encyclopedists 
down to our own university professors, who combat 
and decry the faith in God and in Christ the Saviour 
as stupidity and superstition. Hence Marx himself 
utters the sarcastic taunt against them, that atheism 
seems to them a venial fault compared with the 
crime of criticising the traditional conditions of 
property. 1 Wherein they have sinned therein they 
are punished. 

2. The second great principle of the revolutionary 
party is equality. Here again socialism takes the 
same stand as liberalism, and draws the last conse- 
quence from its principles. Who invented the 
watchword freedom, equality, and brotherhood, and 
thus gave an appearance of right and even of duty 
to the bloody French Revolution? It was the 
representatives of liberalism. The worthies of the 
revolution the Jacobins and Girondists were the 
true forefathers of the modern liberals, who delight 
in their principles and phraseology, and continually 
talk freedom and equality. In virtue of this free- 
dom and equality the ancient order of things was 
subverted ; the privileges of the nobility and the 

1 Kapital, Vorrede, p. ix. 

Liberalism the Root of the Evil. 75 

prerogatives of the Church were abolished ; every 
memory of ancient institutions was effaced ; the 
people were declared as sovereign ; and, finally, the 
citizen " Capet " was brought to the scaffold. True, 
when the liberal bourgeoisie had once taken hold of 
the reins of government they were eager to put a 
stop to the further development of their principles. 
After the Church had been persecuted and, as far 
as this was possible to human power, suppressed, 
the heroes of the Revolution Robespierre at their 
head were eager to introduce the worship of a 
supreme being in order to check the masses. After 
the property of the Church and of the nobility had 
been seized upon, and individuals had enriched 
themselves from the wealth of the nation, it was de- 
clared in the constitution that private property was 
sacred and inviolable. After the aristocracy had 
been removed and the hierarchy of the Church had 
been suppressed, they determined to establish an 
aristocracy of genius and wealth. Was such a step 
consistent ? Had they any right to demand of the 
people to be satisfied with that equality which con- 
ferred upon it a semblance of freedom, but left it 
totally bereft of protection, and finally surrendered 
it to the power of the capitalists? Was the people 
not entitled to require that they should redeem their 
promises, and finally establish perfect equality in 
real earnest? We consider that demand as logical 
and just, according to the principles of liberalism. 

3. The close relation of socialism to liberalism 
may be still more clearly shown in reference to the 
adopted theory of value. He who accepts this 
modern socialistic theory of value that the ex- 
change-value of all productions is only the result of 

76 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

labor, or accumulated labor cannot possibly con- 
sider as just the conditions of modern production in 
which the laborer is always at a shortage, but must 
logically come to the principles of socialism. But 
who first established the socialistic theory of value ? 
Is this theory the invention of socialism ? By no 
means ; it is the traditional doctrine of liberalism. 
Adam Smith, Ricardo, Say, and all the so-called 
classical political economists belong to the liberal 
school ; and they have almost without exception laid 
down the principle that all value was to be credited 
to labor. Lassalle, as we have already shown, in 
establishing his theory of value could point to a 
stately line of liberal social economists. In recent 
times this theory, however, is either wholly aban- 
doned or at least essentially modified by liberals. 
They soon discovered what a dangerous weapon 
they put into the hands of socialism. But it was 
too late. The fact cannot be concealed from the 
world that liberalism forged the dangerous weapon 
which socialism is using for the subversion of the 
existing social order. 

4. Not only theoretically, but also practically, did 
liberalism pave the way for socialism. The way was 
smoothed chiefly by the introduction and enforce- 
ment of unlimited industrial competition, with all the 
liberties and privileges which it brings in its train. 
All protecting organizations which, in the course of 
time, had arisen to counteract the unlimited compe- 
tition, whether in theory or in practice, were, in the 
name of freedom, violently suppressed. Even the 
laws against usury were abolished in the interest 
of freedom. Thus society was disintegrated, the 
weaker industries were isolated, and owing to un- 

Liberalism the Root of tJie Evil. 77 

limited competition fell as victims to the superior 
power of capital. Moreover, since modern discov- 
eries were made to serve merely the interests of 
capital, the solid middle class, which formed the 
strongest support of the existing social order, began 
more and more to disappear, and society was divided 
into two hostile classes the wealthier bourgeoisie, 
on the one hand, with their implacable hatred against 
the Church and the nobility, with their insatiable 
avarice and reckless oppression of the laborers as of 
an inferior race ; on the other hand, the huge masses 
of the poor, particularly laborers in factories, filled 
with hatred and revenge against their capitalistic 
oppressors. Thus a fertile soil was prepared for the 
social democracy. It needed only agitators to make 
the " disinherited " acquainted with the results of 
agnostic science, and to fling the firebrand of rebel- 
lion into the masses of the laborers and there 
stood the social democracy full-fledged. 

Moreover, liberalism endeavored to bring about a 
centralization in all departments of social economy, 
not only by utilizing modern discoveries in the field 
of industry, but still more by its control of educa- 
tion, and even of science, religion, and politics. Now, 
socialism, according to its very nature, aims at the 
greatest possible centralization. The means of pro- 
duction, the organization of labor, the distribution 
of produce, education, instruction all is to be con- 
trolled by the state. The state takes upon itself 
the duties of the separate community, of the family, 
and of the individual. Hence Schafrle 1 logically 
concludes that "all centralization of the liberal state 

Quintessenz, p. 29. 

78 Untenableness of the Principles of Socialism. 

favors socialism, and is congenial to it." But who 
has employed all means to centralize education, 
church government, marriage discipline, the care 
of the poor? Who has abolished the independence 
of municipalities, churches and religious orders, and 
given all into the hands of the state? This is the 
work of liberalism. Socialism is, therefore, nothing 
else than the logical development of the liberal idea 
of the state. The state is the source of all right, 
say the liberals ; to this principle socialism can with 
perfect right appeal against liberalism and in favor 
of its own entire programme. 

When we make liberalism responsible for these 
disagreeable facts, and impeach it with having pro- 
duced and nourished socialism, would we thereby 
take up the defence of the latter ? By no means. 
Our object is only to show that liberalism and 
socialism are closely related to each other, and that 
there is, therefore, no possibility of an efficient stand 
against socialism from the side of liberalism. Lib- 
eralism has but one means against socialism the 
police. As soon as it tries other remedies its incon- 
sistency and inefficiency against socialism become 
lamentably evident. He who will make an efficient 
stand against social democracy or socialism, and 
bring about a permanent betterment of our social 
conditions, must renounce liberalism and return to 
the platform of full and unrestricted Christianity. 




BEFORE we approach the refutation of the demands 
of socialism we must determine more accurately 
what we intend to prove. 

1. When we call the socialistic demands im- 
practicable or impossible, we would confine this 
statement to modern democratic socialism. We do 
not maintain that a social order, such as that de- 
vised by the socialists, involves a contradiction or is 
impracticable under all conditions. If men gener- 
ally were entirely unselfish, industrious, obedient, 
filled with interest for the common weal, always 
ready to give everybody else the preference, and to 
choose for themselves the last and most disagree- 
able place in short, if men were no longer men, as 
they are, but angels, a social order, according to the 
plan of the socialists, would not be impossible. But 
such a supposition cannot be made in favor of 
modern socialism. 

2. Nay, we concede still more : we will not even 


8o Socialism Impracticable. 

dispute that a state organization for the regulation 
and the distribution of all produce might be practi- 
cable under a strictly absolute government. If we 
could imagine an uneducated and undeveloped pop- 
ulation, blindly following the dictates of a despotic 
monarch, we might conceive most of the demands 
of the socialists as practicable. In the ancient king- 
dom of the Incas many of the dreams of socialists 
were realized. But we must bear in mind that the 
Inca, begotten as he was of the sun, enjoyed divine 
honor and ruled with unlimited sway. Moreover, 
the state of civilization in the ancient kingdom of 
the Incas cannot be brought into comparison with 
the circumstances of modern civilized countries. 

Socialism on a democratic basis, implying the 
absolute equality of all, is, at least in its entirety, a 
thing impossible. We say in its entirety, or in as 
much as it is conceived as one organized system ; for 
whether one or a few demands taken singly may be 
realized or not it is not our business to investigate, 
since this one or these few demands do not consti- 
tute socialism. For the rest, many of the socialistic 
demands are essentially connected with one another, 
so that one cannot exist without another. Such are, 
for instance, the possession of all means of produc- 
tion by the state, the systematic organization of 
production, and the distribution of produce accord- 
ing to some given common standard. 

3. It is not our intention to maintain that social- 
ism might not be realized by force. For what a 
violent revolution, which sweeps over a country like 
a hurricane, might bring about by the rule of terror 
goes beyond all human calculation. Even the in- 
credible has been realized in the world's history. 

State of the Question. 8 1 

We need only recall the English Revolution in the 
seventeenth century and the French Revolution in 
the eighteenth. What we would maintain is, that a 
permanent socialistic order is impossible, because it 
is in direct contradiction with the unchangeable in- 
clinations and instincts of human nature. 

4. In our refutation of socialism we shall confine 
ourselves to that form which goes under the name 
of social democracy or collectivism, which terms we 
take to be synonymous. This form of socialism 
comprises the most numerous and influential op- 
ponents of the existing social order, and in the minds 
of its defenders has most prospects of realization 
because it embodies the most rational and the most 
systematic plan of a social revolution. Besides, as 
we have seen, the programme of the social demo- 
crats of Germany and the collectivists of France very 
nearly coincide with the platforms of socialists in all 
other civilized countries. If, then, we have refuted 
this most popular and widespread form of socialism, 
the minor systems will of themselves fall to pieces. 

5. Although we have already characterized social- 
ism in its general outlines, yet it will be necessary 
here to enter more fully upon one of its features 
which is of the greatest importance for our present 
inquiry tJie appropriation of all means of production 
by the state. It is erroneous to maintain that social- 
ism would leave to separate communities or groups 
of laborers the possession of the means of labor and 
the organization of labor. That would be anarchism 
or communism, but not socialism in its genuine 
sense. The chief plank in the platform of modern 
socialism is the abolition of what it calls the anarchy 
of production, which it regards as the root of all 

82 Socialism Impracticable. 

social evils, and the institution of a systematic scheme 
of production. But this end can be attained only 
if the entire state is the proprietor of all labor ma- 
terials, the distributor of labor and of its proceeds. 
This scheme does not necessarily exclude the exist- 
ence, in the socialistic order, of guilds or labor 
unions, communes, districts, etc., as members of its 
hierarchical order. But, in any case, a strict subordi- 
nation of these various orders under one supreme 
state authority is regarded as essential. If the 
ownership of all labor means and, consequently, of 
the proceeds of labor, and the organization of labor 
itself would be left to separate communities, so that 
they could produce what they chose and as much as 
they pleased, our present competition would not be 
abolished, but only suspended for a short time. In- 
stead of the private capitalists we would then have 
the communities as competitors. Therefore the 
anarchy of production would remain in full force ; 
and a mistake committed in the system of produc- 
tion would only be the more detrimental, as it would 
not then affect private individuals only, but entire 
communities. One community could in that case, 
by intelligence, industry, and favorable circumstances, 
acquire immense riches, while another might fall into 
a state of utter wretchedness ; and if every com- 
munity should be industrially independent, and if 
communal property should exist, would every in- 
dividual of the community then be free to leave his 
own community and betake himself to another? 
And if so, is another community obliged to receive 
and to tolerate strangers ? If such liberty and in- 
dependence should not exist, we would have a con- 
dition of perfect slavery ; if it did exist, then a sys- 

State of the Question. 83 

tematic control of labor would be impossible, since 
it could not be ascertained at any time what labor 
power would be at the disposal of the community. 
The better-conditioned communities would be 
deluged, while the less prosperous would be de- 

Besides, the individual groups could not possibly 
each produce all its own necessaries, and would be, 
in consequence, obliged to enter into commercial 
relations with the neighboring communities or with 
foreign countries. Would this circumstance not 
lead to endless quarrels between communities, 
and produce a condition of universal warfare? 
Would not then the more powerful, that is, the 
richer, communities obtain political ascendency, 
and thus submit the democracy to their own 
aristocratic rule? Socialists sometimes speak of a 
union w federation of the communities as a remedy 
against such results. But if the several communities 
were industrially independent of one another, and 
possessed private property, such a federation would 
be short-lived. As in ancient Greece, the different 
communities would carry on a continual struggle 
for the supremacy; and finally the weaker com- 
munities would succumb to the stronger. And who 
should divide the produce among the different com- 
munities? Could such a division be made to the 
satisfaction of all ? 

An organization in which the several communities would 
be industrially independent of one another and would pos- 
sess communal property, to our knowledge, has never been 
seriously thought of by modern socialists. And, in fact, the 
great leaders of socialism do not favor such a division of the 
national industrial system. According to their plans, the 
socialistic state is to take the place of our modern states ; 

84 Socialism Impracticable. 

and the place of monarchs and cabinets is to be occupied 
by a central committee, which is to direct the entire in- 
dustrial system. True, Bebel and other socialists do not 
wish to call this democratic magistracy a " government," 
nor do they wish their organization to be called a " state." 
They believe that this central committee need only devise 
the mechanism of production and set it in motion, and the 
entire extensive machine will move spontaneously in the 
most harmonious order. But, though we admit the pos- 
sibility of such an improbable fact, it remains true that 
socialists aim at a central organization of industry, corre- 
sponding, at least in extent, to our modern states. Hence 
Schaffle 1 seems truly to have characterized socialism in the 
following passage : " The only system of socialism imagin- 
able is, and will continue to be, central organization, uni- 
versal and exclusive collective production by the social 
democracy." " The socialistic system of production, we 
must always bear in mind, of absolute necessity forms one 
compact organization. How the form of this unity should 
be constituted, whether central or federal, absolute or demo- 
cratic, ... we shall not now undertake to discuss; . . . but 
the socialist must admit the necessity of one social system, 
an organization embracing the entire scheme of production. 
The anarchy of individual competition is, according to the 
premises of socialism, the source of all evil of all fraud, 
disorder, inconsistency, usurpation, injustice in our modern 
industry. Then and not ////then shall the socialistic state 
be a reality, when it tolerates only collective capital or prop- 
erty in the means of production." 2 

The following pen-picture of the socialistic state ready- 
made has been drawn by Franz Hitze : "The state is the 
only proprietor of all means of labor of all lands, all 
manufactories, all means of transportation, all labor tools, 
all commerce, and perhaps also of all schools. At the head 
of the organization stands a perfect democratic government 
to be chosen by the people, say every two years; this gov- 
ernment culminates in a committee, perhaps in a president. 

1 Aussichtslosigkeit der Socialdemocratie, p. 5. 
8 Quintessenz, p. 33. 

Socialization of Productive Goods. 85 

The committee has the administration of the entire state; 
not only the political (legislative, executive, judicial), but 
also the control of the entire production, of the entire 
distribution, of the entire consumption ^at least in its more 
general aspect, e.g., how much is to be deducted from con- 
sumption in favor of production, etc.). Although labor 
may be entrusted to the direction of subcommittees and 
departments, yet there must always be one comprehensive, 
supreme, and decisive authority. Under this central author- 
ity stand the provincial departments and communal bureaus, 
which discharge the same functions in behalf of their several 
districts as the central committee in behalf of the state; 
but all these must be subordinate to the supreme central 
board." * 

Similarly, Adolf Wagner: 2 "If socialists would be con- 
sistent, they cannot leave to the several communities com- 
munal property either in capital or in land, and must have 
recourse to an effective coercive control by one supreme 
central authority for the estimation and application of the 
national capital. Capital as well as land must be the prop- 
erty of the entire state." 

Rudolf Meyer 3 characterizes as an essential feature of so- 
cialism the demand that " production established on a social 
basis be regulated and controlled by the state." 



I. Socialization of Productive Goods. 

SOCIALISTS would make all means of labor, not 
only the soil, but also manufactories, machinery, 
raw materials, work-tools, the exclusive property of 

1 Hitze, Kapital und Arbeit (rSSo), p. 286. Cf. Todt, Der Ra- 
dikale deutsche Socialismus (1878), p. 218. Stern, Thesen, p. 8. 

2 Grundlegung, p. 614. 

3 Emancipationskampf des vierten Standes, p. 78. 

86 Socialism Impracticable. 

the entire community. One of their chief demands 
is " the conversion of all labor materials into the 
common property of society." 1 Only consumable 
articles or such as are immediately destined for use 
shall, as the remuneration for labor performed, 
become private property. But here a grave mis- 
giving at once presents itself. What are productive 
goods and what are consumable goods ? Both these 
kinds of goods may well be distinguished in the 
mind. But as soon as we put the question in the 
concrete, whether this or that article is productive 
or only consumable, the difficulty becomes manifest. 
Most objects may be productive and useful or con- 
sumable, according to the end for which the pos- 
sessor wishes to employ them. A garden, for 
instance, is a useful object ; it yields the possessor 
fruits, affords him the facility of taking exercise and 
fresh air and enjoying the beauty and fragrance of 
its flowers and the shade of its trees ; but the fruits 
and vegetables which it produces may also be sent 
to the market either in their primitive state or 
prepared and preserved, and thus rendered of still 
higher value. The same may be said of a house, a 
horse, a carriage, or of any article of furniture or of 
domestic use. Needles and thread and sewing- 
machines are articles of immediate use in a family; 
but they may also be used by the tailor or dress- 
maker to make clothes for others, and thus they 
become productive. 2 

Now, are all those articles of use to become com- 
mon property? If so, every individual would be 
dependent upon the community even in the most 

1 Gotha programme (p. 21) ; Erfurt programme (p. 24). 

2 Cf. Leroy-Beaulieu, Le Collectivisme, p. 13, sq. 

Socialization of Productive Goods. 87 

trivial matters. Domestic life with mutual services 
would be a thing impossible. The only way out of 
the difficulty would be that such objects of use 
which might be also serviceable for production 
would be left to individuals, with a legal injunction 
not to employ them for productive purposes, but 
only for their own private use. Such an arrange- 
ment, however, would necessarily lead to most ex- 
tensive and minute police supervision, and give 
occasion to endless fraud. Let us suppose, for 
instance, that an orchard is given to the father of a 
family for his own use, with the strict injunction not 
to use the fruit for any other purpose, but to deliver 
the surplus to the public magazines. How much of 
the fruit would be delivered to the community? 
Would the possessor in that case deal economically 
with the produce of his garden ? Would he keep it 
in good condition and endeavor to improve it ? 
Would he not be inclined secretly to donate or to 
sell what he could not use for himself ? 

Paulsen 1 is of opinion that not only furniture, works of 
art, ornaments, and books, but also houses and gardens, 
might remain private property, " with all the effects peculiar 
to private ownership with the right to bequeath and to 
donate, to consume and to preserve, to sell and to lend 
them." However, this would manifestly demolish the entire 
system of socialism. This freedom would enable private 
individuals to acquire extensive property by the purchase, 
inheritance, or donation of houses, gardens, and other rent- 
able property, and finally to come to such wealth and inde- 
pendence as to live on their income which is hardly con- 
sistent with the socialistic scheme. A socialist might urge 
in favor of Paulsen's theory that houses, gardens, etc., might 
be safely allowed to pass into private hands, because in a 

1 System der Ethik, p. 716. 

88 Socialism Impracticable. 

system in which all parties are daily employed in production 
and are forced to earn the necessaries of life no one would 
care for further income. However, this supposition is untrue. 
Wealth would also in a socialistic state lead to power and 
influence, and would therefore not be looked upon with 
indifference. And besides, what motives could influence a 
man to work if he could live on his income ? Would it not 
be necessary, then, to use violent measures in order to make 
him work? But would not such force bring about the most 
unbearable slavery? If socialism would pretend to succeed, 
it cannot be satisfied with half-measures ; it must remain 
consistent in its demands. 

II. Mode of Determining the Social Demand. 

Let us suppose for the moment that the distinc- 
tion between consumable and productive goods were 
sufficiently established, and that all means of pro- 
duction were " socialized," or placed in the possession 
of the community at large. Now it remains to 
regulate the national production a function which 
the socialistic programme calls the " social regulation 
of the collective labor." But such a regulation can 
be effected only after the social demand has been 
estimated ; for the satisfaction of the social demand 
is the object and, at the same time, the standard by 
which the extent of production is to be determined. 
The social demand must therefore be established 
by daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly statistical 

Some one may think perhaps that such estimates 
would be superfluous ; that we might simply take 
the present rate of consumption as the basis of the 
socialistic production. But granting even that the 
present rate of consumption could be statistically 
established in detail, which, however, is hardly pos- 

Mode of Determining the Social Demand. 89 

sible, it would by no means serve as the standard of 
production in a socialistic state, since it is the result 
of the present state of property and production, 
which is totally different from the socialistic state. 
For it supposes, on the one hand, large incomes on 
the side of capital and, on the other hand, small 
incomes on the side of labor ; it supposes particularly 
the wage or service system, and is based on the condi- 
tion of private production. Therefore, as Adolf Wag- 
ner 1 justly remarks : " The consumption of our day 
is the result of the present distribution of income 
and property, and of private rents arising from real 
estate and capital. A statistic calculation, therefore, 
based upon the present conditions would be insuf- 
ficient." Much less can we suppose that the supreme 
authority in the socialistic state would simply fix the 
demand in regard to quality and quantity of the 
products by peremptory order, and thus determine 
the amount and kind of production. Such an action 
would certainly be possible ; but, to say nothing of 
the fact that it would be inconsistent with the 
democratic organization of socialism, it would be in 
itself unmitigated tyranny ; for freedom consists, 
above all things, in the liberty to determine of one's 
self the conditions of one's life in regard to food, 
clothing, housing, recreation, means of mental im- 
provement, etc. He who cannot use his free 
choice in these matters, but must follow the dictates 
of higher authority, is a slave though he may be 
called a freeman. Freedom in the determination 
of one's own wants is also the necessary condition 
of all progress and culture. 

1 Grundlegung, p. 617. 

9O Socialism Impracticable. 

Hence Schaffle 1 himself remarks: "The liberty to de- 
termine one's own wants i certainly the first requisite of 
all freedom. If the means of life and culture were deter- 
mined by some external force, according to a certain stand- 
ard, no one could live and develop according to his own 
individual character. The very life's support of freedom 
would perish. The question is, therefore, whether socialism 
destroys the individual freedom to determine personal wants 
or not. If it does, it is opposed to freedom, contrary to all 
individuality, and therefore against morality, and without 
any prospect or possibility at any time to be reconciled with 
the indestructible instincts of man." 

Let us suppose, then, that it was theoretically left 
to the choice of each to determine his own demands 
we say theoretically, for practically this freedom 
would be limited by want of sufficient income. 
Also the factory laborer of to-day is theoretically 
free to determine his own wants ; but practically 
this freedom is greatly limited by his income. This 
would be the case also in the socialistic state ; for 
no one would have any other income than the pro- 
ceeds of his labor. The socialists, it is true, do not 
fail to hold out grand prospects to the laborer. 
J. Stern 2 assures us that in the socialistic state " all 
would possess all things in abundance, to their 
heart's content," and characterizes as " Philistines" 
those who refuse to give him credence. However, 
we are not inclined to believe in such a multiplica- 
tion of loaves and fishes. But we shall have occa- 
sion hereafter to submit this point to a fuller exam- 
ination. Yet the chief representatives of socialism 
themselves seem to entertain some misgiving in re- 
gard to such a miracle. Bebel, 3 at least, frankly 

1 Quintessenz, p. 23. 

2 Thesen, p. 28. 

* Unsere Ziele, p. 30, 

Mode of Determining the Social Demand. 9 1 

confesses that " luxury will cease ;" but he adds, 
"poverty and starvation also." When all shall have 
nearly the same income, it is greatly to be feared 
that the pittance will turn out very meagre. In an- 
other passage Bebel 1 says that the determination of 
the demands will be an easy matter, " because ob- 
jects of luxury which are nowadays purchased only 
by the minority will come into disuse," and " the 
community will have to decide in how far demands 
are to be satisfied by new productions." 

By these words are sufficiently implied, consist- 
ently with the principles of socialism, that each one 
will obtain only those necessaries which the com- 
munity at large will agree to produce. Production 
depends in its quantity and quality upon the articles 
in demand. New demands also require new means 
of production. Will every one, then, be at liberty 
to order new objects for his own use which require 
new industrial arrangements, and consequently in- 
volve an increase of the common labor? But if the 
community at large or its representatives should 
have first to decide whether the wishes of individual 
members should be gratified or not, the freedom of 
determining the demands is thereby all but de- 

Still more oppressive than this restriction of per- 
sonal freedom would be the burden imposed upon 
every family for we suppose in the mean time that 
in the socialistic state the family would still continue 
to exist to manifest all its wants in advance and 
have them registered by the officials appointed for 
this purpose. In order to know what and how much 

1 Unsere Ziele, p. 31, 

92 Socialism Impracticable. 

of every commodity should be produced, and in 
order to make out the plan of production, it must 
first be ascertained what each one needs and de- 
mands. Men and women, therefore, must report 
all their wants and wishes, small as well as great, to 
the respective officials at the bureau of consump- 
tion, in order that they may, after the regular lapse 
of time, be able to draw the desired articles from 
the public magazines on presenting their labor 
schedules. Not to make ridiculous suppositions in 
reference to the socialistic state, we shall admit that 
a certain supply of the more ordinary articles of 
daily use is kept on hand, so that each one can on 
his labor certificate draw the ordinary necessaries 
from the public stores. This scheme, however, could 
be employed only in regard to the most common 
articles of daily use. Now, if our present system of 
production, which always endeavors to be ready to 
meet all demands, cannot have sufficient supplies 
of all articles in demand, at all times and in all 
places, this would be all the more impossible in the 
socialistic state ; or such a state would necessarily 
fall into the same error of which it accuses our 
present system of production that is, it would pro- 
duce by haphazard a huge quantity of goods which 
would lie idle and unconsumed in the state or com- 
munal storehouse. 

J. Stern, with surprising naivete, rates Schaffle as not being 
capable of rightly imagining the socialistic commonwealth, 
because the latter is of opinion that in the socialistic state 
all labor and all consumption must be determined by a 
standard of time, and that the social distribution of articles 
of use is to be made by means of checks. We are of opin- 
ion, however, that Schaffle has conceived more correctly of 
socialism than did J. Stern. Schaffle's opinion is the logi- 

Mode of Determining the Social Demand. 93 

cal outcome of the socialistic principle that labor is the only 
source of value and wealth, and that each one is to receive 
the full proceeds of his labor. The exposition of Stern is 
simply astonishing when he comes to describe the distribu- 
tion of produce. Every one who can show that he has per- 
formed a certain amount of labor has the most unlimited 
right to any species of consumable goods in any quantity he 
may choose to fix. He draws his clothing from the public 
stores, he dines at the public hotel on what he pleases ; or, 
if he prefers, he may dine at home in a highly comfortable 
residence, which stands in communication with the public 
hotels (by telephone, pneumatic tube, and by whatever other 
inventions may be made in the mean time), whence he may 
in the most convenient way [per tube ?] order his meals, just 
as he pleases ; or, if he prefers, he may have them prepared 
at home [by whom ?] ; or he may prepare them himself. 1 

Such a description may, in fact, gladden the heart of a 
credulous socialist. With a minimum of work-time he may 
enjoy himself to the full. He may imagine fountains of sack, 
champagne, Bavarian beer, and cognac, from which every 
working-man may quench his thirst at pleasure. He may 
picture to himself tables laden with the most delicate viands. 
He may imagine with what contempt he will look back 
upon the days of brown bread and potatoes. Having eaten 
and drunk to his heart's content, the working-man will go 
to the theatre or concert, or will drive out in a fine equi- 
page until, late at evening, tired of enjoyment, he will retire 
to rest upon his soft couch. Stern, however, has forgotten 
one thing. Who shall procure and prepare all these dain- 
ties ? Who shall wait upon his socialistic lordship? Who 
shall perform for him in the theatres and concerts ? Who 
shall saddle or span his steeds, and act as his groom ? Stern, 
it is true, revels in the prospects of great inventions in the 
field of electricity. But does he really imagine that elec- 
tricity will be made so serviceable as finally to prepare and 
serve his dinner to the socialist, to fit out his residence for 
him, and to give him a theatrical performance? And then, 
how can all these good things be procured and prepared in 

1 Thesen, pp. 12, 13. 

94 Socialism Impracticable. 

such quantities that each one with the minimum of labor 
may obtain the maximum of enjoyment ? It is truly amaz- 
ing how Stern rehearses all these foolish dreams with such 
an air of earnestness. And yet, if any one refuses him 
credence he does not hesitate to call him a Philistine 
which is, to say the least, a very cheap kind of argumentation. 

It remains, therefore, that every family is obliged 
to report all its necessities if we except the most 
common objects of daily use to the officials at the 
proper bureaus. Yet this cannot be supposed to be 
a light burden. Now every one is at liberty to sup- 
ply all his own wants at pleasure, either by his own 
labor or by purchase, when and where and from 
whomsoever he pleases, whether at home or abroad. 
Thus he is enabled to conceal the secrets of his 
household from the public gaze. Even business peo- 
ple, laborers, physicians, druggists, etc., are bound to 
secrecy, at least in their own interests. In the so- 
cialistic state, however, every one could, by examining 
the public registers, pry into the deepest secrets of 
every household. For in the socialistic state there 
would be no professions, bound to secrecy by their 
own interests as now, and the public registers would 
be open to the gaze and inspection of the sovereign 

Besides, we cannot overlook the fact that the 
socialistic system would require a huge amount of 
clerical work to determine the demands of an exten- 
sive commonwealth. Socialists, however, point to 
our modern syndicates, corporations, state industries, 
etc., to show how easy it would be to determine the 
wants of a nation. But they overlook the immense 
difference between a single comparatively small 
company, established for a limited purpose, and an 

Division of the Labor Forces. 95 

entire commonwealth made up of several millions of 
human beings ; for, as Stern ' rightly remarks, social- 
ism can be actuated only on a large scale. How 
much writing, for instance, does a single census cost ? 
How much labor is expended on making out the an- 
nual estimates of a nation? And yet how simple 
are these estimates compared with the consumption 
of the individuals of an entire nation ! Consider, 
moreover, the thousands of articles of daily use, 
great and small, required for the physical and intel- 
lectual life of a nation for clothing, food, housing, 
recreation, education, commercial intercourse not 
of a small community, but of a nation of many mil- 
lions; for no one would be allowed to produce any- 
thing for himself. Would that not require an over- 
whelming amount of statistic labor, and a huge army 
of bureau officials? And would not such a compli- 
cated system of bureaucracy be subject to the great- 
est blunders, which perhaps would prove fatal to the 
production and to the existence of an entire nation? 
And when we consider, moreover, that these legions 
of officials would be bound by no private interest 
to the faithful administration of their office, could 
we expect a statistical result which might serve as 
a safe basis for production ? 

III. Division of the Labor Forces. 

Let us suppose that the demands have been de- 
termined by the central bureau on the basis of the 

statistics received from the several communities or 

provinces. Now comes the task of organizing the 
national labor, or, as the Gotha programme has it, of 

1 Thesen, p. 50. 

96 Socialism Impracticable. 

" regulating the entire labor according to a social 
method," i.e., in the words of the Erfurt programme, 
" for and by society." For this purpose a division of 
the labor forces is necessary, or at least an accurate 
knowledge is required of the number, ability, and 
strength of the labor forces of which each com- 
munity or district can dispose. For it is not pos- 
sible to impose upon all provinces and districts the 
same amount of labor without any regard to the 
forces at their disposal. It may not be necessary 
that the central committee or " council of produc- 
tion" distribute the labor among the individuals of 
the state. That task may be left to the several 
communities. But it must necessarily determine 
what and how much each district has to produce 
and deliver to the community. But this task sup- 
poses an accurate knowledge of the working forces 
at the disposal of the several communities. 

We shall suppose, however, that together with the 
statistics of demand also an accurate estimate of the 
number of laborers and the efficiency of the labor 
forces of the different districts has been given. 
Here a new difficulty arises. In order to distribute 
their quantity of labor to each district or com- 
munity, it is not sufficient to know the forces on 
hand at the time the division is made. But it must 
also be settled that all labor hands are to remain, at 
least for a certain time, say a year, in the same 
place. The question then arises whether in this 
socialistic state the present freedom of migration 
should be granted or not. Bebel, 1 on his part, 
advocates such freedom, but how is it possible to 

1 Die Frau, p. 188. 

Division of the Labor Forces. 97 

organize labor if we suppose a constantly floating 
population ? How can a community produce a 
certain amount of work if perhaps within the time 
specified for the performance of their task a large 
number of the labor hands emigrate to other com- 
munities? If, therefore, a systematic plan of pro- 
duction is to be put in force the population must be 
constrained to remain at least for a time in a certain 
place, so that during this time the migration to an- 
other community can be effected at most with the 
permission of the authorities. 

But even this measure does not remove the diffi- 
culty. What would be the result if such a migra- 
tion from one place to another would be permitted ? 
We shall suppose that no one is constrained by law 
to settle in any particular place, but that each one 
is left free to choose the place where he wishes to 
settle ; for this is an essential requirement of free- 
dom. Now, what would be the result if in the 
socialistic state such freedom of migration were per- 
mitted ? We have reason to fear that roaming pro- 
pensities, and what is vulgarly called tramping, 
would become an epidemic in the socialistic state. 
Nowadays the greater number at least of those 
who are not utterly bereft of property are bound in 
their own interest to choose a fixed residence, either 
permanently or at least for some time ; and even 
those who have no property must choose their 
domicile in the place where they have a prospect of 
earning their living. These motives, however, 
would not exist in the socialistic state ; for each 
member would know full well that every part of 
the country, whether north, south, east, or west, 
would be equally his home ; that he would have the 

98 Socialism Impracticable. 

same rights everywhere, and the same claims to 
work and support. 

Nor can it be answered that regard for children, 
for the sick and aged, would induce the socialistic 
citizen to choose a permanent residence ; for we must 
bear in mind that the care of children, of the aged 
and infirm, would be left to the state ; and conse- 
quently it could not be any impediment to emigra- 
tion. Or would the love of home, perhaps, attach 
the socialist to his native soil ? We say the love of 
home in the stricter sense ; for in the socialistic 
state there would be no love of country in a 
wider sense, as the socialist would be alike in his 
own country in all places. His country is not his 
community, or any fixed place, but at most the 
entire state. Every socialist would have in every 
community in the great commonwealth the same 
right ; in his birthplace he would have no more 
rights than in any other part. Why, then, should 
he feel himself permanently attached to his birth- 
place ? The foundation of the love of our birth- 
place is based on the right of property. The love 
of the place of his birth is generally not deeply 
rooted in the penniless beggar ; his patriotism ex- 
tends only to the confines of that place which 
affords him shelter and support. Not until a family 
has long lived and labored in the same place, until 
it has a part of its history connected with the place, 
until it has formed manifold ties of kindred and 
friendship, does it become attached to the place of 
its residence. But all this supposes private prop- 
erty, and, as a rule, property in land at least the pos- 
session of a house or of a little holding, and a roof 
which one may call his own. But all these elements 

Distribution of Labor. Vocations. 99 

are wanting in the socialistic state, in which every 
foot of the soil is equally the property of all its in- 
habitants. Therefore we are not surprised to hear 
socialists repeatedly characterizing patriotism as 
"prejudice" or even as " folly." l 

IV. Distribution of Labor. Vocations. 

After the demands have been determined and the 
labor forces of each community have been ascer- 
tained, it remains for the central bureau to distribute 
their quantum of labor to the different workmen 
and workwomen. The committee has to determine 
who is to be employed in agriculture, industry, 
mining ; who in the distribution of produce; who is 
to be entrusted with its transportation, etc. It is a 
matter of indifference whether the communal com- 
mittee determine the position which each one 
should occupy in the mechanism of production, or 
whether the position of each is to be assigned him 
by the authorities of the special departments of 
industry. In any case, the central committee must 
determine to which department of industry each 
one is to be ascribed. Here again it must evidently 
be supposed that the heads of the departments of 
production have at their disposal a permanent pop- 

Can the distribution of the various works be 
brought about on any other plan ? True, some 
socialistic enthusiasts would leave the choice of an 
occupation at the pleasure of each individual : thus 
at the beginning of the movement Charles Fourier, 

1 Cf. Meyer, Der Emancipationskampf, vol. ii. p. 116. 

ioo Socialism Impracticable. 

and recently Bebel 1 and Stern. 2 "Each one," says 
Bebel, "determines for himself in what occupation 
he wishes to be employed ; the great variety of the 
various branches of labor will satisfy the most 
various tastes. . . . The different branches and 
groups of labor will choose their own superintendents 
'to direct their various departments. These will be 
no taskmasters like most of our present labor 
inspectors and foremen : they will be comrades, 
with this difference only, that they exercise an ad- 
ministrative instead of a productive function." The 
socialistic body can at pleasure devote itself "at 
one season of the year to agricultural, at another to 
industrial production." 8 Not only in regard to 
industrial, but also in regard to scientific and ar- 
tistic studies shall every one have occasion for suit- 
able variety. 4 

Yet all this is a visionary dream. If the quality 
of occupation is left to the choice of each, all will 
flock to the easiest, pleasantest, and most honor- 
able employments. The industries are naturally 
very unequal, and even socialism cannot remove this 
inequality. To be a director or a member of the 
supreme council of production is an easier occupa- 
tion than that of a fireman, or of a collier, or of a 
laborer in a chemical factory, who has to pass his 
hours in broiling heat and fetid air; the office of a 
committeeman would be more pleasant than that of 
the individual who would be deputed to clean the 
streets and sewers of the cities. Socialists will use 
much printer's ink before they can print out of the 
world the fact that many occupations in the social- 

1 Die Frau, p. 154. 2 Thesen, p. 37, sq. 

3 Die Frau, p. 188. 4 Ibid., p. 160. 

Distribution of Labor. Vocations. 101 

istic state would be irksome, laborious, dangerous, 
and repulsive. If the choice were left to individuals 
certainly sufficient forces would not be found for 
the performance of such disagreeable work. 

Bebel, however, tries to find a way out of the diffi- 
culty. He is of opinion that street-cleaning, washing, 
and other disagreeable kinds of work would in the 
socialistic state be performed by mechanical means, 
so that these occupations would cease to be dis- 
agreeable. 1 But even though we should make the 
greatest allowances for modern and future inven- 
tions, yet it would be puerile to imagine that all the 
disagreeable features of labor could be removed by 
machinery. There would still remain much dis- 
agreeable work, which could be effected only by 
immediate personal action. Besides, such machines 
must be tended and directed. Does Bebel imagine 
that the socialists could bring machinery to such 
perfection that it would be necessary only to let a 
machine down a shaft in order to hoist it laden with 
coal? Experience teaches that industrial progress 
has rather multiplied than diminished disagreeable 
occupations. Though some kinds of distasteful 
work are nowadays performed by machinery, other 
still more loathsome ones have been created in 
their stead. We have only to recall the number of 
chemical factories which are a standing nuisance not 
only to the laboring men, but also to whole cities 
and country places for miles around. Besides, we 
must bear in mind that it is a point of the socialistic 
programme to utilize for the benefit of society all 
manner of garbage and refuse, which will certainly 

1 Cf. Stern, Thesen, p. 38. 

IO2 Socialism Impracticable. 

afford no very pleasant occupation for the laborer of 
the future. 

Unless we admit, then, that in the state of the 
future unselfishness, self-devotion, and thirst for 
self-abasement and suffering shall become general, 
nothing else remains for us than to conclude that, 
finally, the influence of authority, or the vote of the 
majority, must force the laborer to condescend to 
these disagreeable and humiliating avocations. But 
such interposition of authority or of the popular 
vote would evidently take away all freedom of 
choice, and be a source of endless complaint and 
discontent. And yet, according to the socialistic 
programme, there should be " equality of rights " 
and " equality in the conditions of life." But is it 
consistent with this equality, either by command of 
authority or by popular vote, to condemn one man 
rather than another to such despicable and disagree- 
able employments ? 

V. Some Unsatisfactory Solutions. 

Freedom in the choice of a vocation or state of 
life is such an essential constituent of human liberty 
that without it life is sheer slavery. It is natural, 
therefore, that socialists and their advocates should 
have sought out some means of securing this free- 
dom in the socialistic system, despite its strictly 
methodic arrangement. Schaffle is of opinion that 
by a certain regulative system freedom in the choice 
of a state might be made compatible with the social 
organization of labor. He thinks that committees, 
appointed for this purpose, could by the reduction 
of pay stop the immoderate demand for certain 

Some Unsatisfactory Solutions. 103 

professions, and, on the other hand, by raising the 
pay for other departments of labor attract larger 
numbers of aspirants to the less desirable occupa- 
tions. This proposition, however, does not seem to 
suit the socialistic system ; for it supposes that the 
pay for certain kinds of labor could be raised and 
lowered at pleasure, as far as this would be service- 
able to the labor organization. By such a measure 
the socialistic theory of value would be thrown over- 
board ; for the value of produce would no longer 
depend on the necessaiy time consumed in produc- 
ing it, but on external circumstances from the 
greater demand, or from the greater extent of social 
wants. But would laborers tamely submit to the 
reduction of their wages because perhaps in another 
department of industry there is a lack of labor 
forces? This solution of the problem would lead to 
the result that the lowest and most disagreeable 
occupation, in which the least intellectual labor is 
required, would be paid best of all, and that the pay 
would diminish in proportion as the labor would as- 
cend in the scale of intellectuality and appreciation ; 
for naturally the rush towards the higher and more 
interesting kinds of labor would continue. Such 
treatment of the laborer would not only be unjust, 
but would crush every aspiration to higher culture 
and higher social standing. 

Edward Bellamy, 1 in the fiction entitled " Looking 
Backward," gives a most glowing description of the 
future socialistic state, and endeavors to represent it 
in all respects as practicable. He tries to meet our 
difficulty by the regulation of the labor-time. If the 

1 Looking Backward, chap. vii. 

IO4 Socialism Impracticable. 

number of candidates for any one calling should be 
too great and for another too small, the labor-time 
would be lengthened for the one and shortened for 
the other. This, he thinks, would be a sufficient 
means of reducing, on the one side, the number of 
those who aspire to a higher calling, and, on the 
other side, of increasing the number of those who 
would be willing to be employed in less honorable 
labor or professions. But if this should prove un- 
successful, and too few laborers were found for any 
department of industry, it would be sufficient, he 
thinks, for the authorities to declare that such 
neglected labor would be connected with special 
honor, and that those who would engage in it would 
merit the gratitude of the entire nation. For the 
youth of such a socialistic nation, he thinks, would 
be very ambitious, and would not allow such an 
occasion of gratifying their ambition to go unused. 
If, on the other hand, the rush of laborers to any 
department of industry were too great, those only 
should be chosen who would distinguish themselves 
in that special industry. 

This theory is characteristic of Bellamy's treat- 
ment of the social question. He imagines humanity 
almost free from all those passions and shortcomings 
to which the children of Adam are now subject a 
generation full of zeal and devotion to the common 
weal. But, we ask, are those human beings whom 
we meet in social life really such a generation of 
angels? Bellamy himself shows that they are not 
when he depicts in the most exaggerated colors the 
egotism of the present generation. We must deal 
with men as they are and shall continue to be ; and 
for such men Bellamy's system, has no use. Does 

Some Unsatisfactory Solutions. 105 

Bellamy imagine that those who have been long 
employed in some work or profession will tamely 
submit to have the labor-time lengthened indefi- 
nitely, simply because there are many candidates 
for that kind of labor ? And could a varying labor- 
time, suited to the different industries, be thus 
established by government? The demand for cer- 
tain kinds of labor is not unchangeable, but may 
vary according to the varying inclinations of men, 
or according to the circumstances of time and place. 
It is impossible by the regulation of the labor-time 
to determine the number of laborers which are 
required to produce the necessaries of an entire 
nation without committing enormous blunders, and 
thus creating dissatisfaction. This policy would also 
have the necessary result of multiplying the number 
of laborers employed in the lowest and most dis- 
agreeable kinds of labor. Let us consider the 
matter in the concrete. Mining, for instance, is 
much more irksome, disagreeable, and dangerous 
than the occupation of a gardener, an overseer, or 
an artist. In order, therefore, to obtain a sufficient 
number of workmen it would be necessary to reduce 
the labor-time of miners to a minimum. What 
would be the result ? The number of miners would 
have to be increased in proportion, if raw materials, 
coal, etc., should be forthcoming in sufficient quan- 
tities. And what we say of miners applies also to all 
inferior and undesirable kinds of work for instance, 
street-cleaning, stable-tending, chimney-sweeping. 
The number of laborers in all those lower employ- 
ments would have to be increased considerably to 
make up for the shortness of the labor-time by the 
increase of labor-power. Thus labor forces would be 

io6 Socialism Impracticable. 

withdrawn from the higher and more skilled occupa- 
tions, and the entire tendency of society would be 
backward and downward. The more degrading and 
disagreeable any kind of labor would be the more 
laborers it would employ. Besides, according to 
Bellamy, all members of the social body should 
have a share in the national product, so that a 
stable-boy by fewer hours' work could earn as much 
as an artist, a physician, or a lawyer, who would 
have to labor the livelong day. 

Bebel fancies he has found a way out of the 
difficulty. In the first place, he has the most un- 
limited confidence in the self-sacrifice of the 
laborers of the future, who at the beck of their 
directors will always be found ready voluntarily to 
fill all the breaches that may be thrown open. If 
this unselfish spirit, however, should not suffice, all 
in their turn must undertake the disagreeable works ; 
for " there will be no human respect and no stupid 
contempt of useful labor." ' Nay, more ; he is of 
opinion that the superior education of future society 
will effect that finally every laborer, in his turn, will 
be able to undertake all the functions of labor. " It 
is not at all improbable that as the organization 
progresses and the thorough education of all mem- 
bers of the social body will advance, the different 
functions of labor shall simply become alternate 
that, at stated intervals, according to a fixed routine, 
all members of a certain department, without dis- 
tinction of sex, shall undertake all functions." ' 
Bebel maintains the possibility of such a routine 
at the outset only for the various functions within 

1 Die Frau, p. 165. 2 Ibid., p. 154. 

Some Unsatisfactory Solutions, 107 

the same department of production. But at a later 
stage of the development of his subject he gives 
this routine system a much wider application. In 
the socialistic state the gteatest regard will be had 
for the natural craving of man for variety ; for all 
will have an opportunity to perfect themselves in all 
the branches of industry. " There will be no lack 
of time to acquire great facility and practice in the 
various branches of industry. Large, comfortable, 
and perfectly equipped workshops will facilitate for 
all, young and old, the learning of all trades, and will 
introduce them to their practice as it were in play. 
Chemical and physical laboratories, fully answering 
the demands of science, will be at hand, and teachers 
in great abundance. Then it will be manifest what 
a world of force and power was suppressed by the 
capitalistic system of production, or how these forces 
and powers were at least crippled in their develop- 
ment." ' 

These conclusions of Bebel are most logical, and 
by this very fact they strikingly illustrate the 
absurdity of socialism. To all disagreeable employ- 
ments, therefore, for which laborers do not present 
themselves voluntarily every member of society will 
have to submit in his turn. Every one must in his 
turn be street-cleaner, chimney-sweep, stable-boy, 
etc. Let us picture to ourselves Messrs. Bebel and 
Liebknecht, " without any human respect," when 
duty calls them, submitting themselves to these dis- 
agreeable avocations, which no other member of the 
social body volunteers to undertake. What would 
the gentlemen then say of the freedom left to man 

1 Die Frau, p. 160, 

IO8 Socialism Impracticable. 

in such a system ? When Bebel assures us that in 
the society of the future education, and particularly 
technical training, would fit every member of the 
social body for all functions and all industries, his 
statement can hardly be said to deserve a refutation. 
Let us only imagine what such industrial and tech- 
nical ability supposes. Every individual in his turn 
undertakes all social functions ; for instance, in a 
factory he is director, foreman, fireman, book-keeper, 
a simple laborer, and tender ; then he turns to some 
other branch of industry or social calling becomes 
editor, compositor, telegrapher, painter, architect, 
actor, farmer, gardener, astronomer, professor, 
chemist, druggist. With such a programme, is any 
thorough knowledge of anything possible ? 

Paulsen 1 justly characterizes the state of the future. " In 
the society of the future," he says, "the self-same individual 
will be letter-carrier to-day ; to-morrow he must perform 
the duties of a post-office clerk; on the third day he must 
act as postmaster-general but why use a title ? in short 
he must undertake all that business which at present the 
director of the national post-office has in hand he must 
prepare programmes for international post-office congresses, 
etc.; and on the fourth day he must again return to the 
counter ; on the fifth he condescends to be letter-carrier 
once more, but this time not in the metropolis, but in some 
out-of-the-way place ; for it is but meet that the sweets of 
city life should fall to the lot of all in their turn. Thus it 
would be also in the railroad department, in the mining and 
in the military department, and in every common factory. 
To-day the member of the socialistic state descends into the 
bowels of the earth as a collier, or hammers at the anvil, or 
punches tickets; to-morrow he wields the quill, balances ac- 
counts, makes chemical experiments, draughts designs for 

1 System der Ethik, p. 738. 

Refutation of an Objection. 109 

machines, or issues general edicts on the quantity and 
quality of the social production, etc. In the naval depart- 
ment there would be a similar variety : the office of captain 
would fall to the lot of all in turn, as also that of steersman, 
of machinist, of cook, etc. And thus also in the depart- 
ment of state ; the various officials would exchange func- 
tions: each one would in his turn be legislator, judge, com- 
mander-in-chief of the army, and chief of police. But I 
have forgotten where I was : in the state of the future there 
will be no more wars, and no more thieves, and falsifiers, and 
idlers, and tramps; consequently there will be no more 
judges and soldiers necessary. Nor will there be any need 
of laws, or of a state at all, in the land of Utopia, in which 
the wolves will play with the lambs on the pasture and 
eat grass ; when the ocea.n will be filled with lemonade and 
ships will be drawn by tame whales; where envy, hatred, 
tyranny, ambition, indolence, folly, and vanity will no longer 
exist; where there will be only wise and good men in the 
millennium, for which it will not be necessary to devise laws 
and ordinances. In this ideal state benevolence alone shall 
reign supreme. 

" There can be no serious thought of appointing or dismiss- 
ing by ballot the directors who are to superintend the work 
of the community according to the necessity and according 
to the public opinion of the voters. Every one can easily 
picture to himself the results of such elections if they were 
to be carried out in the entire social body : the party strifes, 
quarrels, contentions, cheating, public denunciation, which 
would then ensue even in the smallest circles even in the 
supposition that there would be no diversity of material in- 
terests and no ill-will from the difference of opinion on 
points of mere convenience, usefulness, and possibility 

VI. Refutation of an Objection. 

When it is objected to socialists that they will 
finally by the ruling of authority have individuals 
constrained to perform that work which the com- 

1 10 Socialism Impracticable. 

mon good demands, and that thus they take away 
all freedom in the choice of employment, they raise 
the contrary objection that now there is no freedom 
in the choice of a vocation that most people are 
forced by necessity to seize upon the first employ- 
ment which offers itself to them. Yet this objection 
of socialists is one-sided and exaggerated. It is not 
true that most people are not free to choose their 
vocation or employment. The great mass of the 
population has undoubtedly considerable freedom in 
this regard. There are comparatively few who are 
not free, on leaving school, to choose from a great 
variety of occupations. An unlimited freedom in 
the choice of a vocation does not exist and has 
never existed ; nor is such freedom in the interest 
of society ; for it is rather an advantage to society 
if certain callings have permanence and constancy 
and are generally filled by the same classes. A 
family in which a certain business or trade has been 
traditionally handed down from generation to gener- 
ation has generally great advantages from a moral 
and industrial standpoint over a family or individual 
who is new in such trade or business. That at pres- 
ent there are many cases in which, owing to extreme 
poverty, the choice of a state in life is almost 
illusory we shall willingly grant ; but this circum- 
stance arises from the present unlimited competi- 
tion, and from the disintegration of social life result- 
ing therefrom which we do not by any means un- 
dertake to defend. From this fact, therefore, 
nothing can be concluded in favor of socialism. 

Finally and that is the chief point the neces- 
sity which binds men to a certain kind of work in 
the present state of society is only a moral one, 

Impossibility of the Social Organization of Labor. \ 1 1 

which is independent of the will of others, while in 
the socialistic state this necessity would emanate 
from the ordination of the social authority. Now it 
is tJie interest of the individual which forces him to 
embrace a certain profession and rightly to prepare 
himself for the duties connected with it. In conse- 
quence of this moral necessity the distribution of 
the various avocations of life is made without law or 
precept. Even the lowest and most disagreeable 
employments generally find a sufficient number of 
candidates, and commonly those who are employed 
in them are satisfied with their avocation as long as 
it yields them a sufficient means of subsistence. 
The discontent so common among laborers in our 
time is not with labor itself, but with excessive labor 
and insufficient pay. If employers would better 
the condition of the laborer, contentment and satis- 
faction with their condition would soon return to 
them if they were not disturbed by the visionary 
theories of social agitators. But if laborers are 
made to believe that all men have equal rights and 
should enjoy equal advantages in life, it will be 
found impossible to reconcile them with their con- 
dition. This same imaginary claim to absolute 
equality will prove the death-blow of socialism 
itself, for the simple reason that it aspires to an 
utter impossibility. 

VII. Impossibility of the Social Organization of 

Another flaw in the socialistic system is the tacit 
supposition that all kinds of work and all services 
for the benefit of society may be reduced to one com- 

1 1 2 Socialism Impracticable. 

prehensive labor system. This supposition is errone- 
ous. There will be always a large number of per- 
sonal services which by their very nature cannot be 
brought into any system, unless the world is to be 
governed by strict military rule. Such are, for in- 
stance, all those services which immediately regard 
the care of the body food, clothing, cleanliness, 
cooking, housekeeping, washing, mending, etc. Shall 
every one bring his coat to the " social " tailor to be 
mended ? Must every one present himself to the 
state's barber and hair-dresser for his toilet? Must 
every one consign his linens to the public laundries? 
We must bear in mind that the relation between 
masters and servants, and, in short, the entire wage 
system, will cease to exist in those days. And if 
in a family, to crown the difficulty, the housewife 
is sick or otherwise unfit for work, or happens to die, 
do the socialists imagine that her services may be 
substituted in the state of the future by mechan- 
ical means? In answer to this difficulty they point 
to our present system of boarding-houses and hotels, 
where all parties at all times can be served accord- 
ing to their wishes, and lack no earthly comforts. 
Why, then, they say, could not all such personal ser- 
vices be rendered in the socialistic state by means of 
public kitchens and dining-halls, by public laundries 
and workshops, on a large scale? To say nothing 
of the disintegration of family life which would arise 
from such a public boarding system, would it not be 
downright slavery if every one were altogether de- 
pendent upon public institutions for the satisfaction 
of his personal wants ? Besides, we can hardly be- 
lieve that such public boarding institutions, laun- 
dries, etc., would give general satisfaction. Our 

Impossibility of the Social Organization of Labor. 1 1 3 

present hotel and boarding system is conducted on 
quite a different principle. It consists of private in- 
stitutions, whose proprietors or directors have the 
greatest interest to attract guests and to satisfy, as 
far as possible, all their reasonable wishes ; for if the 
guests are dissatisfied with the treatment accorded 
them and the prices they pay, they will go else- 
where, and thus the hotel-keeper or landlord will 
lose his customers, and his competitors will profit by 
his loss. 

The socialistic eating-houses, on the contrary, 
would be public institutions conducted by public 
officials, who would draw their necessaries from the 
public magazines, and would have no competition to 
fear. Would such public state cooks, butlers, waiters, 
etc., be as eager to satisfy their guests as the offi- 
cials of our private hotels? We doubt it very much. 
The "social" cook or waiter would be independent 
of his guests, and if the latter were dissatisfied with 
his services he would have nothing to lose thereby. 
Nay, we fear that such socialistic institutions would 
be far behind our military kitchens. Let us sup- 
pose, moreover, that all these officials would have to 
change their offices from time to time, so that no 
one would understand anything thoroughly that 
he who is cook to-day should be waiter to-morrow, 
and laundry-man next day, and then butler, and 
finally return again to the kitchen, but only for so 
long a time as either his own caprice or public au- 
thority would keep him in that office. But enough 
of absurdity. 

This difficulty did not escape the notice of Schaffle. He 
is of opinion that socialists could leave such personal ser- 
vices to private enterprise. Such a policy, however, would 

1 14 Socialism Impracticable. 

leave a wide gap in the principles of socialism, which would 
finally remove every form of wage labor. If socialists 
would leave personal services to private enterprise they 
must tolerate at least the existence of paid servants. Thus 
also many hands would be withdrawn from the national 
production ; for persons who would devote themselves to 
the performance of such private services could not be ex- 
pected at the same time to take part in the social industry. 
Besides, the equality of the conditions of life would be de- 
stroyed if private services were permitted ; for thus it 
would be possible for some such servants, by superior ability, 
favorable circumstances, or ingenuity, to procure a large in- 
come, while another private servant would either have a 
miserable existence or be constrained to return to the com- 
mon ranks of producers. In another place, however, 
Schaffle * says that private enterprise would be altogether 
excluded in the socialistic commonwealth, and that all 
those laborers who would not take an immediate part in the 
social production, as artists, for instance, would receive a 
public salary. We may readily grant that the income aris- 
ing from such personal services would never attain such 
dimensions as that arising from the modern accumulations 
of capital ; yet the general principle of socialism that only 
public labor paid by the state is to be tolerated would thus 
be subverted. 



I. Socialistic Dreams. 

THE ringleaders of the socialists promise their 
followers a golden age. Little work and much 
enjoyment that is the gist of socialism. This is 
manifest particularly from Bebel's published works. 

If we are to believe this popular leader, labor in the social- 
istic state, owing to its great variety and the modern and 

1 Quintessenz, p. 3. 

Socialistic Dreams. 1 1 5 

future perfection of mechanical inventions, will be mere 
amusement. Most kinds of labor will be performed, as it 
were, "in play." Besides, labor, owing to the systematic 
regulations and the wise utilization of all means of produc- 
tion, will be so productive that between two and three hours' 
work per day will suffice for the perfect satisfaction of all 
human wants. Egotism and the interest for the common weal 
will be in harmony ; nay, these motives will exactly coincide 
with each other in the socialistic organization. 1 There shall 
be no more idlers. The moral atmosphere itself will incite 
every individual to "distinguish himself before all others." 2 
An unheard-of "world of forces and possibilities," which 
have been suppressed by the capitalistic system of produc- 
tion, will be made free. 3 There will be no more political 
crimes or other violations of law. 4 Barracks and other 
military institutions, court-houses, city-halls, prisons, will 
then have a better use. The nations will no longer look 
upon each other as enemies, but as "brothers." The age 
of "everlasting peace" will come. The weapons of war 
will be stored up in the museums of antiquities. Then the 
nations shall advance to ever higher culture and civiliza- 

Most particularly in those days, by means of irrigation, 
draining of marshes and moors, and by superior means of 
communication, agriculture will change the entire land into 
huge gardens, and thus entice the people from the cities into 
the country. As in the cities, so also in the country there 
will be museums, theatres, concert-halls, play-houses, hotels, 
reading-rooms, libraries, business offices, institutions of 
learning, parks, promenades, public baths, scientific labora- 
tories, hospitals, etc. 6 

In the socialistic state all the faculties of man will be 
developed harmoniously. There will be " scholars and artists 
of every description in countless numbers " in those days. 6 
Thousands of brilliant talents will be brought to their fullest 
development musicians, actors, artists, philosophers, not 

1 Die Frau, p. 156. 9 Ibid., pp. 163, 164. 

3 Ibid., p. 160. 4 Ibid., p. 179. 

5 Ibid., pp. 177, 186. 6 Ibid., p. 161 

1 1 6 Socialism Impracticable. 

professional, of course (for all must take part in the social 
production), but led on by inspiration, talent, and genius. 
" An age of arts and sciences will come such as the world 
has never seen before ; and the artistic and scientific produc- 
tions will be in proportion to the general progress." 1 Every 
one will also have occasion to indulge his taste for variety. 
He may make "a pleasure trip," visit foreign lands and 
continents; he may join scientific expeditions and coloniza- 
tion schemes of all kinds, which will then exist in great 
numbers, if he is disposed to render a corresponding service 
to society. 2 In short, the human heart will lack nothing 
which it can long for. The golden age of Saturn will return, 
and all men shall be happy. 

Like Bebel, so also Stern 3 indulges his imagination to the 
fullest extent in describing the socialistic paradise of the 
future. Thus Bellamy's day-dreams have been seriously 
dreamt before by waking German scientific socialists. But 
dreams are an easy species of production for fertile imagina- 

II. Industry and Economy in Socialism. 

It is a great pity that the gap between dreams 
and reality cannot be bridged. It is a stern fact 
that in thickly inhabited and civilized countries the 
earth is able to nourish its inhabitants only at the 
price of hard labor and great economy in the use of 
labor materials. Nor is there any lack of incentive 
to such economy in the modern social order, as is 
manifest. The interest of the individual, nay, the 
very necessity of self-preservation and self-advance- 
ment, urges most people to untiring and energetic 
labor. In the race for gain we need, therefore, a 
check rather than an incentive ; nor is there any great 
extravagance to be observed in the use of labor 

1 Die Frau, p. 185. 5 Ibid., p. 188. 3 Thesen, pp. 25, 34. 

Industry and Economy in Socialism. 117 

means raw materials, work tools, machinery, fac- 
tories, means of transportation, etc. On such econ- 
omy depends to a great extent the success of all 
modern enterprises. The great problem to be 
solved in every private enterprise is how to produce, 
with the least possible expense of labor, material, 
and time, the largest quantity of the best and 
cheapest goods. True, there will be always a num- 
ber of bunglers and swindlers who will ply their 
trade ; but such will not succeed in the long-run. 
Fraud will be detected in ninety-nine cases out of 
one hundred ; and if it sometimes succeeds it is 
mostly by the fault of credulous or grasping dealers, 
and of legislatures and governments which do not 
use sufficient precaution and vigilance for the pre- 
vention of deceit. But how far would diligence and 
economy in the use of the means of production be 
practised in the socialistic commonwealth? 

Here again Bebel comes forward with the most liberal 
promises. He is of opinion "that such an organization of 
labor, based on perfect freedom and equality, in which one 
would stand for all, and all for one, would awaken the 
highest consciousness of solidarity, would beget a spirit of 
joyous industry and emulation, such as is nowhere to be 
found in the industrial system of our day. . . . And this 
spirit would also exert its influence on the productiveness of 
labor and the perfection of produce. 1 Moreover, each in- 
dividual and all together, since they labor for one another, 
have absolutely the same interest that all products should 
be not only as good and perfect as possible, but also should 
be produced with the greatest possible promptness, either to 
spare time or to gain time to produce new articles for the 
satisfaction of higher claims." 3 

1 Die Frau, p. 154. 
3 Ibid., p. 154. 

1 1 8 Socialism Impracticable. 

However, such promises are but idle talk. For 
what motive has the member of the socialistic state 
to toil honestly day by day and to use the labor 
materials economically? Only the smallest part of 
the fruit of his industry belongs to himself. If we 
imagine a million members of a socialistic common- 
wealth, each one reaps one millionth of the proceeds 
of his labor. And if he is idle, what does it matter? 
Only one millionth of the production which he neg- 
lects to bring forth is lost to him. 

Even Schaffle, 1 who has the greatest sympathy with 
socialism, is of the opinion that "it is not sufficient, in the 
case of the common production of a million laborers, that 
producer A is conscious of the fact that his social income 
depends upon the fact that the nine hundred and ninety-nine 
thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine other co-operators 
labor .as assiduously as he himself. This consciousness 
alone cannot exercise sufficient control, does not, at least, 
overcome the tendency to idleness and dishonesty, does not 
hinder cheating the community in regard to labor-time, does 
not thwart the sly and factious tendency to overtax one's 
own personal production. Socialism would have to engage 
each one's private interest at least so strongly for the 
collective production as is the case in private production. 
The socialistic state would have to reward the different 
departments for extraordinary collective production and 
punish them for industrial negligence; it would also have to 
reward superior technical progress and remunerate individual 
merit for the common weal ; it would have to direct the 
numerous labor forces to that position in which they would 
be most productive, not by command of authority, however, 
but by the power of individual self-interest." 

But in the social commonwealth there would be 
no private interest. If the state would, according 

1 Quintessenz, p. 31. 

Industry and Economy in Socialism. 1 1 9 

to Schaffle's opinion, confer distinctions and premi- 
ums sufficient to urge the laborer to years of restless 
toil, great differences in the conditions of life would 
soon arise and bring envy, jealousy, and discontent 
in their wake. Besides, such distinctions or premi- 
ums cannot consist with the socialistic theory of 

We have reason to believe that socialism, instead 
of producing abundance of all necessaries of life 
with little toil, would soon be forced to lengthen 
the present work-day in order to prevent famine. 
According to Engel ' there were in Prussia in the 
year 1881 to a population of 26,716,701 a total in- 
come of $2,382,676,591.50. In this estimate, how- 
ever, the income was set one fourth higher than it ac- 
tually was, as the real estimate was $1,972,386,965.50. 
Now, if this were equally divided among the popula- 
tion it would leave $89.25 to each person ; and if we 
take each family to consist of four members it would 
leave each family an income of $357. This income, 
however, is still higher than it would be in the 
socialistic state in similar conditions; for since 
there would be no taxes first a deduction would have 
to be made, before the division would take place, 
of all that would be required for the maintenance of 
the productive system and for public institutions. 
If, then, in our present state such great exertion of 
power for production is attended with such small 
income, we have reason to fear that in the socialistic 
state the income would dwindle to insignificance. 
Besides, we must bear in mind that the day's work 
in the socialistic state would last only between two 

1 Der Wert des Menschen. 

1 20 Socialism Impracticable. 

and three hours. Socialists, it is true, boast that 
idlers who would take no part in the public produc- 
tion would not exist in the socialistic state, as they 
do now. By this assertion, however, they acknowl- 
edge that freedom in the choice of employment 
would no longer exist in socialism, but it does not 
follow that the task of the individual would be 
lessened. The socialists build their hopes upon a 
false supposition namely, that in the social order of 
the future all men and women will be actuated by 
the same zeal, industry, and economy. 

Not a few socialists, and among them Schaffle, build 
great hopes upon the mutual supervision and control 
of the laborers. But such supposition is in many 
cases impossible, especially if several should unite 
together in a league of idleness. But where such 
supervision would be actuated, as in workshops of 
limited extent, it would necessarily lead to a regular 
system of petty surveillance and espionage. We 
have striking illustrations of the truth of this state- 
ment in the case of the national workshops erected 
in 1848 at the public expense at the suggestion of 
Louis Blanc. In a tailor's shop there was introduced, 
instead of payment by the piece, payment by the 
day, in the hope that mutual supervision would in- 
cite the laborers to diligence. But soon this mutual 
supervision degenerated into an invidious and petty 
espionage, and brought about so many bitter re- 
proaches and quarrels that it was soon found neces- 
sary to return to the old system of payment by the 
piece in order to restore order and harmony among 
the workmen. 

Progress in the Socialistic State. 121 

III. Progress in the Socialistic State. 

If the necessary production would be impossible 
in the state of socialism, progress would be much 
more impossible. That private industry based on pri- 
vate property is conducive to progress is a fact which 
in our days is palpable. What wondrous progress 
has been made within this half-century ! We need 
only recall the invention of steamboats, railroads, tele- 
graphs, telephones, phonographs, and all the recent 
results achieved on the field of electro-dynamics. 
Almost every day brings unexpected improvements ; 
for every one is bound by his own interest to make 
himself useful to his neighbor and, if possible, to 
outdo his competitors. Therefore every one en- 
deavors to invent more comfortable, useful, cheaper 
appliances. He who offers the best and most useful 
commodities at the lowest price takes the lead in the 
race of competition. 

What will become of this progress in socialism ? 
Bebel with his usual boldness announces that in the 
socialistic commonwealth all will " turn their atten- 
tion to improvement, simplification, and acceleration 
of the process of labor. Ambition to invent and dis- 
cover will be aroused to the highest degree ; one 
will try to outstrip the other in ideas and devices." ' 
Such phrases only bespeak the popular agitator. 
All shall be intent upon inventions and discoveries. 
But suppose that the socialistic grade of education 
would enable all laborers to make inventions and 
discoveries which is very doubtful where is the 

1 Die Frau, p. 154. 

122 Socialism Impracticable. 

interest that could incite them to new discoveries 
and inventions? And even though there were such 
interest, where would the laborer find means to make 
discoveries in the production of goods? Discoveries 
and inventions, at least in the field of industry, 
suppose the possession of productive goods where- 
with one may experiment at pleasure. They sup- 
pose, moreover, that one is thoroughly trained in 
one department, which he makes the special study 
of a lifetime ; consequently, that he is not directed 
at pleasure by a superintendent or council of pro- 
duction, or by the vote of the people, or by changes 
from one branch of industry to another, and thus 
made a bungler in every branch or trade. Schaffle 1 
speaks of schools or guilds of " investigators, artists, 
scholars," which could be appointed by the social- 
istic commonwealth. But Bebel, who formerly made 
the same statement himself, denies the possibility 
of such classes. All have to take an active part in 
production ; but the remaining free time may be em- 
ployed by each individual in his favorite study. We 
have great reason to doubt that after the social pro- 
ductive labor leisure would still remain for scientific 
and artistic pursuits ; and we have still more reason 
to doubt whether the members of the socialistic 
body would employ this time in earnest and solid 
study. We are inclined rather to think that they 
would devote their leisure to idleness and enjoyment. 
But let that pass. We shall suppose that a 
socialist has made an important discovery. Now 
it remains to utilize it practically. In the supposi- 
tion of private property this matter is comparatively 

1 Quintessenz, p. , 

Progress in the Socialistic State. 123 

easy. If the inventor has capital, or if he succeeds 
to enlist interested capitalists, his discovery will soon 
make its way into the public, if it only proves effec- 
tual. But the case is different in the socialistic 
order. Here every inventor must either apply to 
the supreme director of production, or must bring 
his claim directly before the people and try to inter- 
est the majority in his behalf. This, however, is 
a matter of no slight difficulty. It is a difficult 
matter to win entire communities for any Innova- 
tion, particularly if individuals have no private 
interest in the matter, but, on the contrary, thereby 
only impose new labors upon themselves. If there 
is question, for instance, of new machineries, heat- 
ing and lighting apparatus, public buildings, high- 
ways, canals, tunnels, etc., the innovation or im- 
provement at the outset will cost a large portion 
of the national labor. And if such an improvement 
is once decided upon, it must at the same time be 
introduced in the entire social body, in order that 
the conditions of labor and life may be equal with 
all. But will society in all cases tamely submit to 
all such innovations? We fear that in the social- 
istic state even such improvements as would cer- 
tainly promise the greatest advantages from the 
very outset would fail to be introduced ; and how 
much more such inventions as require repeated and 
costly experiments to test their efficiency? 

Kleinwachter 1 makes the following just remark on the 
point in question : " In the socialistic state, in which the en- 
tire production would be in common and systematically or- 
ganized, the annual labor task of the entire population would 

1 Schonberg's Handbuch, vol. i. p. 260. 

124 Socialism Impracticable. 

have to be fixed and distributed among the laborers by the 
government. If, therefore, the government would find it de- 
sirable for the national production to introduce some in- 
novation, and thus to increase the annual task of labor ; and 
if the people, not being able at once to realize the advan- 
tages of such improvements, would consider the introduc- 
tion of such appliances as superfluous, and would refuse to 
undertake the additional work the government would in 
that case have no means to enforce its wishes against the 
majority of the population ; and thus progress would be 
necessarily retarded. In short, in a socialistic stata In- 
dustrial progress would then only be possible when the 
majority of the people would favor it ; and that, as all men 
know, is a tedious process." 

Besides, it is a circumstance not to be overlooked 
that in our own present state of society inventions 
and improvements of the same kind can be simul- 
taneously introduced and tested, so that a thorough 
trial of each innovation is possible ; and, finally, that 
improvement or invention which commends itself not 
only to the judgment of a few theorists, but has stood 
a practical test, will survive as the fittest. Thus we 
have a guarantee that the best and most useful ap- 
pliances will finally gain the upper hand. Such a 
thorough testing would be impossible in the state of 
the future, as it would entail a considerable increase 
of labor, which would hardly meet with a sufficient 
remuneration, and of the utility of which the people 
at large could with difficulty be convinced. 

IV. Arts and Sciences in Socialism. 

If bold statements were sufficient to produce 
desired effects, socialism would not be opposed, but 
highly beneficial, to arts and sciences. But if prog- 

Arts and Sciences in Socialism. 125 

ress on the field of industry would be, as we have 
seen, greatly retarded in the socialistic organization, 
it is natural to expect that progress in the arts and 
sciences would be still more restricted. According 
to Bebel's programme, in the socialistic organization 
all without exception shall take a direct and " phys- 
ical " part in production ; consequently, there shall 
be no professional artists and scholars. This con- 
clusion is strictly logical, but at the same time it 
shows the absurdity of the socialistic system. For 
it is manifest that under such conditions there would 
be no possibility of real progress, for he who will 
produce anything of considerable value on the field 
of art or science cannot cultivate these, as a second- 
ary object in leisure hours merely as an amateur, but 
must devote himself wholly to them from his very 
youth. But it must be borne in mind that socialism 
will introduce all, without exception, at an early 
stage of youth, into all branches of production, 
since production is the proper end, the only ac- 
knowledged purpose of the socialistic state. More- 
over, those disagreeable employments for which no 
laborers will volunteer must be performed by all in 
their turn ; and all without exception are bound 
their whole lives long to take an active part in pro- 
duction. Can there be, under such circumstances, 
any higher, scientific and artistic aspirations and 
activity? Will there be any taste and enthusiasm 
left for any branch of knowledge beyond physical 
labor ? In our present state of society it is self-in- 
terest and necessity that urge on the youthful stu- 
dent to earnest labor. Upon his labor depends his 
future existence, his advancement, and his final po- 
sition in society ; whereas in the socialistic order 

126 Socialism Impracticable. 

scientific and artistic abilities can have no influence 
upon a man's social standing. Remuneration will 
be gauged solely by the amount of production of 
one's labor, and not by those occupations to which 
one may devote himself for his amusement in leisure 

True, it sometimes happens in our day that men, 
without any regard to external advantages, from 
sheer love of science or art, undertake profound 
studies. But this is the exception, not the rule ; 
and even these few have generally received the first 
impulse to study from bitter necessity or from self- 
interest ; and they continue of their own pleasure the 
studies or researches which in the course of time 
have become for them a source of delight. But in 
a socialistic state there would be no such incentives 
for youth, since all, no matter what vocation they 
may choose, shall have exactly the same conditions 
of life. 

But let us suppose that Bebel's demand that all 
should in the same manner " physically " take part 
in the work of production should be dropped as 
impracticable by socialists ; that professional scholars, 
artists, and scientists should be tolerated. By 
avoiding Charybdis they strike upon Scylla. Thus 
they would be forced to abandon the socialistic 
theory of value, according to which all objects of 
use are to be estimated by the amount of labor con- 
sumed in their production ; and by labor is here 
understood only such work as is either directly or 
indirectly productive. But there are many arts 
and sciences which have no value, or at least very 
small value, for production. What does poetry or 
music, for instance, contribute towards the national 

Arts and Sciences in Socialism. 127 

production ? What astronomy, philosophy, com- 
parative philology, history, geology, etc.? And if 
such labors should nevertheless be remunerated by 
the community, what must be the standard by 
which they are to be estimated ? But we must 
return to this point when we speak of the division 
of produce. Moreover, would not the unequal 
treatment of employing one as a scholar, artist, 
scientist, or professor, while another is forced to 
undergo the disagreeable labors of the mine or the 
factory, do away with the equal conditions of life 
and give occasion to jealousy and complaints? If 
socialists nowadays declaim against " unproductive 
entities " and " drones," how much more would they 
do so in the commonwealth of the future, when all conscious of their equal rights, and have 
the decision of all things in their own hands? We 
have already drawn attention to the fact that social- 
ism would do away with freedom in the choice 
of a state or profession in life. If the state would 
appoint philosophers and scientists and artists, the 
lack of this freedom of choice would be still more 
keenly felt, for either it must be supposed that 
artists and scholars would be so placed as to enjoy 
respect, honor, and temporal emolument, and then 
all would rush to these professions, or we must sup- 
pose that they would have no distinction among 
their fellows, that they would have no more prestige 
than an ordinary shoemaker or tailor ; and in this 
case there would be few candidates for the learned 
professions. In any case, the authorities would have 
to determine who should embrace the scientific and 
artistic professions. 

The freedom of the press in socialism deserves 

128 Socialism Impracticable. 

special consideration. True, we consider as objec- 
tionable that unlimited freedom of the press which 
allows all manner of outrage upon good morals, 
religion, lawful authority, marriage, property, etc., 
to go unpunished. But no less objectionable in our 
time, when different religious denominations are 
actually tolerated and live peaceably together, 
would be a censorship permitting that only to be 
published which would have the approval of state 
officials. But such a censorship would be necessary 
in the socialistic state. 

All labor materials are the exclusive property of 
the community; consequently, also the printing- 
presses would be public institutions. The com- 
munity must supply the materials and the labor- 
hands; it is also the task of the community to 
decide on what is to be printed and what to be 
put in the waste-basket. It would therefore depend 
entirely upon the majority of the respective com- 
mittee, or of the entire people, whether a literary 
work, be its merit great or small, should ever see 
the light or not. The socialists pride themselves 
on this feature of their system. Bebel particularly 
boasts that in the state of the future much of the 
" rubbish " which in our time floods the book-market 
would never be published. But manifestly such a 
policy would destroy the good seed together with 
the cockle. True, many books, and among them 
much "rubbish," would remain unpublished; but 
very probably many works also of real literary merit 
would be suppressed, while much would doubtless 
also see the light which would fully deserve the 
name of " rubbish." For the question is, what is to 
be regarded as rubbish ? One party considers a 

A rts and Sciences in Socialism. 1 29 

work as worthless, while another considers it valu- 
able, and a third even admires it, and vice versa. 
Very often, we fear, the most learned and scientific 
works would be branded as rubbish while frivolous 
and superficial productions would find their way 
through the press. Let us suppose the case that a 
citizen of the " state of the future " has gained the 
conviction that the socialistic order of society is 
highly unjust and absurd, and that he embodies and 
substantiates his opinion in a scientific work or in a 
series of popular essays. What will the socialistic 
censors judge of his lucubrations ? What we say of 
scientific subjects would be still more true of reli- 
gious questions. In the state of socialism a party 
would have it in its power to exclude from the press 
every religious opinion which it would find incon- 
venient. Or could authors appeal to the liberality 
and tolerance of the popular majority? The masses 
are generally more intolerant than individuals: the 
latter must regard public opinion, the former need 

Like the printing-press so also the foundation 
and support of all kinds of scientific and artistic 
institutions elementary, middle, and high schools, 
industrial schools, clinics, libraries, museums, etc. 
would be placed under public direction ; so that 
new establishments could not be set up except by 
vote of the majority. In the erection of such insti- 
tutions the first question which would present itself 
to the consideration of the community would be the 
increase of the national labor, which would never, or 
at least not for many years, produce any industrial 

In socialism slavery would go even to greater ex- 

130 Socialism Impracticable. 

tremes. All buildings, particularly the great public 
edifices, would be the property of the entire state, 
which would dispose of them by means of its officials. 
No public building could, therefore, be erected for 
large assemblies, for divine worship, for public lec- 
tures, etc., except with the permission of the majority 
or of the state's representatives. But let this suffice : 
so much is certain from what we have said, that in 
the socialistic state the majority would have full 
power to oppress and to enslave the minority at 
pleasure. The latter would have no guarantee for 
their freedom except the good-will of the majority, 
or at the worst revolution, to which it might claim 
the same right as the socialists of to-day. 



WE now come to that point of the socialistic 
system of which socialists are particularly proud, and 
which even commends itself to the sympathies of 
many who are not socialists. Is it not an undeniable 
fact, they say, that production is continually on the 
increase, and yet that the greater number of men 
live in extreme poverty ? Whence this phenomenon ? 
They answer : from the unjust distribution of in- 
dustrial produce. 

We readily grant that in our present system of 
distribution there is much that is defective and 
needs improvement. There are not a few capitalists 
who use the laborers unjustly for sordid gain ; not 
a few who by dishonest speculation bring others' 

The Division of Produce. 131 

property into their possession. What we would 
deny is this that socialism, in all its schemes, has 
devised a fairer and better method of distribution. 

We shall suppose that the annual proceeds of pro- 
duction in the socialistic state have turned out abun- 
dant although this supposition from our former re- 
marks must seem improbable ; but we shall make this 
supposition, to put socialism in the most favorable 
light possible. From the total proceeds is first to 
be subtracted the amount necessary for the con- 
tinuation of production, for the improvement of fac- 
tories, for the purchase of raw materials, etc. By 
this deduction socialism will relieve the people of all 

The remainder of the proceeds is to be justly di- 
vided among the individual members of the body 
social. Now it is evident, as we have already shown, 
that all will not be allowed to go to the public stores 
and indiscriminately, without further control, to 
take whatever they please. A certain clear, fixed, 
and practicable standard must be adopted ; and the 
question is, what this standard shall be. Socialism 
has thus far devised not a single practicable standard. 
Socialists themselves are on this point, as on many 
other points of practical policy, somewhat reticent. 
Marx advocates a distribution of goods according 
to the amount of labor performed, at least in the 
primitive state of socialism ; but in a more advanced 
phase of society, he adds, each one will draw " ac- 
cording to his reasonable wants." We shall now 
proceed to examine successively the practicability 
of the imaginable standards for distribution. We 
can imagine only five such standards that might be 
made the basis for the distribution of produce the 

132 Socialism Impracticable. 

number of persons, the labor time, the amount of 
labor performed, diligence, actual wants. 

\. Number of Persons as a Standard. 

A distribution of produce according to the num- 
ber of persons of a given section or community has 
not, to our knowledge, been advocated by any so- 
cialist. And naturally so ; for to give the same 
amount of the produce to each individual, whether 
diligent or idle, skilful or unskilful, strong or weak, 
whether his wants be few or many, would be evi- 
dently most unfair. Such a system would set a 
premium upon idleness and incapacity, and would 
blast all industry in the bud. 

The preceding lines were written before Bellamy's novel 
came into our hands. The American fictionist of the future 
has all produce equally divided among all in his socialistic 
commonwealth. Each one, according to Bellamy, receives 
at the beginning of the year an equal number of credit cards, 
on which he can at all times draw an equal value of goods 
from the public storehouses. In every community or ward 
there is such a magazine, from which each one can draw 
exactly what he pleases. The value of the credit cards, 
given to all, is so high as considerably to surpass the ordi- 
nary wants of an individual or family. If, however, in an 
exceptional case the value of the card is not sufficient, each 
one may receive credit in advance for the following year. 
For, as Bellamy remarks, the nation is wealthy, and does not 
wish its members to suffer any want. Economy is no longer 
considered a virtue. No one is concerned for the morrow, 
whether for himself or for his children, for the nation guaran- 
tees nourishment, education, and comfortable support to all 
its citizens, from the cradle to the grave. What luxury must 
develop from such a state of things, in which economy is 
no longer considered a virtue, may be easily imagined. 

Number of Persons as a Standard. 133 

How we are to judge of the assertion that the socialistic 
state shall be so rich that there will be no more need of 
economy, and that supplies will be equal to the demands in 
all sections, we may easily conclude from what has been said 
under a previous heading. 

But how will Bellamy reconcile with justice the principle 
that no regard is had for the amount of labor performed, for 
capacity, and for the experience and skill of individuals ; 
that the weakest, the most stupid, and most inexperienced 
receive the same remuneration as the strongest, the most 
skilful, and the most experienced? Bellamy, through his 
mouth-piece Dr. Lecte, replies to this difficulty that the 
amount of labor performed has nothing to do with the dis- 
tribution of produce, since this is a question of merit ; and 
merit is a moral idea, while the quantity of produce is mate- 
rial. It would be a remarkable kind of logic, he thinks, to 
endeavor to decide a moral question by a material standard. 
The degree of effort alone is decisive in regard to merit; 
whence we do not reward a horse because he bears a heavier 
burden than a goat would bear. But if Bellamy would com- 
pare man with a horse he must be consistent, and deny him 
all merit also in view of effort. We do not attribute true 
merit to a horse, no matter how great has been his effort ; 
we do not feed him on account of his merits, but on account 
of his usefulness: and thus too Bellamy must treat the man 
of the future, if he wishes to be consistent. 

But merit is a moral idea, and the quantity of labor pro- 
duced is material. As to this quibble, Bellamy contra- 
dicts himself; for the effort of the laborer is at least mainly 
material or physical ; why, then, does Bellamy attribute merit 
to it ? Or does he imagine that only the effort, but not the 
product of labor or the labor performed, is a rational moral 
activity ? But when we ascribe merit to labor performed 
we do not understand by it the physical product of labor as 
such, but the performance itself, in as much as it is a valua- 
ble, creative activity. We reward, not the food which the 
cook prepares for our use, but the labor of cooking, the 
value of which, it is true, we determine by the product or 
the food cooked. 

When Bellamy asserts that merit is something moral we 

134 Socialism Impracticable. 

must distinguish between formal merit as such that is, in as 
much as it implies a right to a reward, and the title of merit, 
or the meritorious action. The former, it is true, is some- 
thing purely moral, the latter is not. The title of merit is 
an action which is useful for another; and whenever there 
is not question of moral merit (with God), but of physical 
merit (with man), its value is determined according to the 
usefulness of the action performed for the benefit of our 
fellowmen or society always supposing, of course, that the 
action is free and imputable to the subject. 1 

II. Labor-time as a Standard. 

The labor-time alone cannot serve as a standard 
for the distribution of the proceeds of labor ; for a 
more skilful, better trained, more practised and 
diligent laborer produces more in the same time 
than one in whom these qualities are deficient. 
Marx himself felt this difficulty. Therefore he 
wished the value of every commodity to be deter- 
mined not by the labor actually spent in its produc- 
tion, but by " the socially required unit of labor- 
time " that is, by the time which is required " to 
produce a given value under given normal social 
conditions of labor, and with a given socially re- 
quired grade of skill and intensity." Hence the 
share of each laborer in the entire production would 
have to be determined by the " socially required labor- 
time'' But this standard of distribution could be 
regarded as just only in the supposition of Marx's 
theory of value. If the exchange-value of useful 
commodities does not consist in the " crystallized " 
labor contained in them, as Marx would have it, 
but chiefly in the difference of their use-value, it 

1 Looking Backward, chap. ix. 

Lab or -time as a Standard. 135 

is manifestly unjust not to regard the difference 
of the labor-forces, but to treat all according to 
the same norm. Let us suppose five laborers work- 
ing side by side in a factory. How is the share of 
the universal produce to be determined which 
falls to the lot of each ? According to the " aver- 
age of skill and intensity of the [social] labor." 
But this average is a mere abstraction. Actually, 
perhaps, none of the five laborers has the average 
mean. Some have more than the average, some 
less. It were folly to suppose that all possessed the 
same skill and labored with the same intensity ; for 
men differ greatly from one another. But why 
should the laborer who possesses greater skill get 
credit only for average skill, and why should he who 
possesses less than the average skill get credit for 
the skill which he does not possess? 

Marx established the proposition, and the German social 
democrats received it into their programme, that useful 
labor labor which produces exchange-value is possible 
only for society, not for individuals. However, though this 
proposition should be conceded, it would not thence follow 
that all the members of society produced the same amount 
of labor and have the same right to remuneration ; but the 
proposition itself is untrue, and has been established only 
for the purpose of gaining some semblance of right to weld 
individuals into the machine of public production. True, 
useful commodities can gain exchange-value only where 
several persons are living together and one possesses what 
the other does not. But this supposed exchange-value 
depends chiefly upon use-value; and to produce useful com- 
modities personal ability is sufficient. Could not Robinson 
Crusoe produce many articles for his own use? Or would 
socialists only say that personal labor is in many respects 
dependent upon society ? If so, logically speaking, labor- 
power is no longer private property, but must be considered 

136 Socialism Impracticable. 

the property of the community ; and the community must, 
consequently, have the right to dispose of such common 
labor at pleasure, independently of the individual laborer. 
But such an admission is contrary to the principle of social- 
ism, which boasts to secure to every laborer the full proceeds 
of his labor as his own personal property. 

The standard of the division of produce by the 
" necessary social unit " of labor-time is, therefore, 
unjust and rests upon a false assumption. But it is 
also impracticable. Here as in similar difficulties 
Bebel ' cuts the knot and simply declares: " The 
labor-time which is required to produce a certain 
object is the standard according to which its social 
use-value is to be determined. Ten minutes of social 
labor-time in one object are exchangeable for ten 
minutes of social labor-time in another object no 
more and no less." 

Let us examine the matter practically. We wish 
to know how much social labor-time is contained in 
a peck of wheat. One farmer is diligent and skilful 
and cultivates his field in a much shorter time and in 
a much better manner than another. The distance 
of the fields from the farmers' residences, the roads, 
the farming implements, are different. But above 
all, the produce depends to a great extent upon the 
quality of the soil, upon the kind and quantity of 
manure, upon the climate and the favorable or un- 
favorable weather. The same soil will produce in 
different years very different crops. Who, then, can 
determine the socially required unit of labor-time 
contained in a peck of wheat ? With the same 
labor an acre of land in the fertile districts of the 

Die Frau, p. 162. 

Labor-time as a Standard. 137 

Rhine will produce double or three times the crop 
which by the same labor will be reaped on an acre 
in the Harz Mountains or on the sandy plains of 
Holland. One need only recall these difficulties to 
perceive that the calculation of the socially required 
unit of labor-time, even for a single commodity, is a 
thing impossible. 

But this is only the beginning of the difficulty. 
What we say of wheat is true in like manner of all 
kinds of grain and vegetables, nay, of all agri- 
cultural products (meat, butter, cheese, eggs, etc.). 
The same may be said of the produce of mines, fish- 
eries, etc. Who could determine the unit of labor- 
time for such products as change from year to year 
and even from month to month ? We say nothing 
of the fact that it is altogether an erroneous process 
to determine the exchange-value of commodities by 
the unit of time required for their production. 

The difficulty increases if we admit that in the 
society of the future there would be paid judges, 
physicians, surgeons, artists, scholars, etc. Schaffle' 
says : " Those who would render useful services to 
the community as judges, magistrates, teachers, 
artists, scientists, not in the production of physi- 
cal goods, would have a share in the real products 
of the national labor in proportion to the time spent 
in useful services to society." 

In proportion to the time spent in useful services 
to society! Did Schaffle consider the difficulty of 
calculating this proportion ? How is the time spent 
in useful services to society to be determined in the 
case of the scientist, the artist, and the philosopher? 

1 Quintessenz, p. 5, 

138 Socialism Impracticable. 

Should all be treated in the same way ? Would all 
physicians get the same salary, whether skilful or un- 
skilful, experienced or otherwise? Are physicians 
to draw a higher salary than philosophers, artists, and 
teachers ? Again, shall an elementary teacher re- 
ceive the same pay as a professor of an intermediate 
school or of a university? It would be unjust to 
treat them all alike. It would be an outrage to the 
more gifted and industrious. But an unequal salary 
would be contrary to the fundamental principles of 
socialism, and be a constant source of jealousy and 
contention. Nor could the present scale of payment 
be retained in the socialistic state, for the present 
system, as Schaffle remarks, would on the very first 
day be upset by social democracy: and justly so, 
for it is contrary to the equal rights of all ; and it 
would of necessity lead to a social aristocracy, by 
whatever name we might choose to call it. 

III. The Labor performed as a Standard. 

The labor performed is another standard accord- 
ing to which, absolutely speaking, the distribution 
of produce might be determined. This standard is 
suggested by the Gotha programme and by the 
leaders of the socialists. " Superior production," 
says Bebel, 1 " will receive higher remuneration, but 
only in proportion to the labor performed." As far 
as the labor performed can be determined by the 
socially required unit of labor-time, we have shown 
it to be an impracticable standard. But if the labor 
performed is gauged not only by the labor-time, but 

1 Unsere Ziele, p. 30. 

The Labor performed as a Standard. 1 39 

also according to its intrinsic value, we must take 
into consideration, besides the time, also skill, 
strength, practice, and diligence. For upon all 
these elements depend the quantity and quality of 
the labor performed. But, particularly, the various 
kinds of employment in which one is engaged for 
the benefit of society must be compared with one 
another, and estimated according to their relative 
values. For all occupations have not, as socialists 
pretend, the same value for society ; and, conse- 
quently, they do not deserve the same remunera- 
tion. No one, for instance, will consider the work 
of a fireman or of a stable-boy of the same value as 
the services of a physician or of a professor of a 
university. But who will pretend to have sufficient 
shrewdness and wisdom to determine from the on- 
sideration of the various factors the relative value 
of each occupation according to the demands of 
justice? How totally different are the opinions of 
men on the relative value of labor! One considers 
this occupation more valuable, while another attrib- 
utes greater value to a different occupation. In 
estimating the value of labor, much depends upon 
subjective views. Could, therefore, a standard so 
complicated, so totally dependent upon subjective 
opinions, be employed for the distribution of prod- 
uce without giving occasion to constant discontent 
and discord ? 

From what we have already said we may easily 
conclude the impracticability of the standard of dis- 
tribution proposed by Rodbertus, 1 who suggests that 
the proceeds should be distributed according to the 

1 Der Normalarbeitstag, 1871, 

140 Socialism Impracticable. 

work [Werkarbeitstag], as distinguished 
from the work-day [Zeitarbeitstag]. First, the labor- 
time, or the normal working-day, must be determined 
that is, the time which a workman of medium 
strength and with average exertion can permanently 
work every day in a given industry. This time is 
different in different branches of industry. If this 
normal time is once found, then it remains to de- 
termine the amount of labor to be performed that 
is, that amount which an average laborer, with aver- 
age skill arid with medium diligence, can in a given 
industry produce in the normal work-time. This 
amount of labor Rodbertus calls the day's ^vork, as 
distinguished from the work-day, or normal labor- 

The normal day's work in one branch of industry, 
according to Rodbertus, has the same value as the 
normal day's work in another, or, to put it more uni- 
versally, the products of the same labor-time are equal 
in value. If, for instance, a pair of shoes forms a 
day's work in the shoe industry, and a table five 
days' work in the joiner's trade, a table is worth five 
times as much as a pair of shoes. 

Attempts have been made to calculate the normal day's 
work for different trades : even for the simplest labor such a 
calculation is most tedious and complicated, and at best 
only approximately correct. For, as Rodbertus remarks, it 
is not sufficient to calculate the 'abor directly employed by 
the shoemaker to make a pair of shoes, but it is necessary 
also to reckon the wear of the shoemaker's tools in the 
operation. But to make this latter calculation it is neces- 
sary to know the value of all the shoemaker's instruments, 
of the various materials that go to make a pair of shoes 
leather, thread, nails, hammer, awl and, moreover, to cal- 

The Labor performed as a Standard. 141 

culate how many days' work might be performed by every 
one of these instruments. 

This standard of Rodbertus rests on the assump- 
tion that the value of an object is determined solely 
by the labor consumed in its production. But this 
assumption, as we have proved, is false. Good wine, 
fruit, timber, cloth, grain, or land, is sold at a higher 
price than the same quantity of the same object of 
an inferior quality, and that independently of the 
labor consumed upon it. Why are fresh articles of 
food fruit, meat, butter, etc. sold at a higher price 
than stale ones? Every child can answer this ques- 
tion. Should this simple question puzzle political 
economists like Rodbertus? It is upon the useful- 
ness of an object that its value chiefly depends. 
This is also the case, as we have seen, with human 
labor ; and therefore it is erroneous to make the 
day's work in one branch of industry equivalent to 
the day's work in another. 

The normal day's work, moreover, is impracticable 
as a standard of distribution because there are 
many industries and activities to which it is impos- 
sible to apply it. Who, for instance, can determine 
the day's work of a physician, a scientist, a teacher, 
an astronomer, an historian, a state official? The 
tailor or shoemaker can preserve the product of his 
labor and have it estimated by competent judges. 
But what has the physician, or the scientist, or the as- 
tronomer, or the magistrate, or the teacher to show ? 
What can the husbandman present if drought, or 
frost, or hail has destroyed his crops ? Or what can 
the huntsman or fisherman exhibit if he happens to 
be unsuccessful in his efforts? The standard of the 

142 Socialism Impracticable. 

day's work, moreover, is not consistent with the 
social democratic system. For it would necessarily 
bring in its wake considerable social inequalities. 
Rodbertus himself acknowledges that the day's work 
standard would introduce the piece-system into the 
socialistic state. If, for instance, he who has per- 
formed one normal day's work receives payment 
equivalent to one, he who in the same time performs 
two normal days' work receives double the amount. 
But he who has performed only half a day's work 
will receive but half pay. Now, it is not at all im- 
possible that a strong, healthy, skilful laborer should 
do twice or three times as much work as another who 
is weaker and less skilful. Thus considerable social 
inequality would soon arise, especially if the weaker 
laborers would, by sickness or other accidents, be for 
a considerable time prevented from work; for we 
suppose that the man who works a whole day re- 
ceives better pay than he who is sick and unfit to 
work. Otherwise all incentives to labor would soon 
cease, and the rush to the public infirmaries would be 
universal. However feelingly the social democrats 
may speak of " brotherly spirit " and devotion to the 
common good, they cannot remove the dread of toil 
under which a great portion of humanity labors. 

IV. Diligence as a Standard. 

Much less than the amount of labor performed 
can diligence alone serve as a standard for the distri- 
bution of produce. It would be simply unjust to 
regard diligence as the only norm, since such a stand- 
ard would put the more skilful and expert laborers 
on the same footing with the slowest and most awk- 

The Wants of Individuals as a Standard. 143 

ward. Moreover, how could the diligence of each 
one be accurately determined ? Bellamy thinks that 
in a socialistic state each one should receive an 
equal share of the produce if he only makes equal 
endeavor, or produces that of which he is capable. 
That is all easily said ; but who shall judge whether 
each one does his best? How are we to form a 
definite judgment upon such an endeavor? At best 
only by an extensive system of mutual supervision 
and espionage. But such a system would mani- 
festly be an unbearable yoke, which the sovereign 
people would on the very first day shake off with 
indignation. And even if such control could be per- 
manently established, how easy would it be to de- 
ceive the overseers, especially if many laborers would 
conspire against them ? What guarantee could an 
overseer give who would be elected and might be 
deposed at any minute ? Finally, if a laborer would 
be found guilty of a lack of diligence, how much 
then should be deducted from his wages, and who 
is to judge of the amount ? We are of opinion that 
if such a standard were introduced, our prisons, 
which socialists would have abolished, would soon 
have to be replaced by more numerous and capa- 
cious ones. 

V. The Wants of Individuals as a Standard. 

It would be still more unjust and impracticable to 
distribute the produce of labor according to " the 
wants of individuals," or, as the Gotha programme 
would have it, " to each one according to his reason- 
able demands." What are the reasonable demands? 
Not all have the same wants. Evidently it would 

144 Socialism Impracticable. 

not be wise to leave to individuals themselves the 
decision concerning their wants. No one is an im- 
partial judge in his own case ; and, besides, experi- 
ence teaches that demands do not exactly coincide 
with real wants. 

The only expedient that would be left, therefore, 
would be to appoint for each district a " committee 
on wants," whose task it would be to determine the 
real needs of individuals for instance, how many 
glasses of beer the workman of the future would 
actually need. And as such a commission would 
necessarily consist of Solons and Aristideses, who 
would decide, not according to personal regards, but 
only according to right and justice, and would always 
hit upon the right thing; and as, moreover, the 
socialistic brethren, as Bebel loves to characterize 
them, would be animated with a " brotherly spirit," 
and would be content with little, this most delicate 
problem would be solved to the greatest satisfaction 
of all, and the social machinery would move in the 
greatest peace and harmony. 



THE family is without doubt the mainstay of 
every well-ordered commonwealth. If socialism 
destroys the family it must necessarily be looked 
upon as the enemy of order, freedom, civilization, 
and Christianity itself. 

I. Marriage in the Socialistic State. 

We can appeal to the explicit and unequivocal 
evidence of its most indefatigable defenders for the 

Marriage in tJfe Socialistic State. 145 

fact that socialism leads to the dissolution of the 
family. It will suffice to hear the evidence of a 
single leader, who may be said to represent the 
universal sentiment. Bebel writes of the position of 
woman in the socialistic state as follows : 

" In the choice of the object of her love she [woman] is 
no less free than man : she loves, and is loved, and enters 
into the marriage alliance with no other regard than that of 
preference. This alliance is, as in olden times [?], a private 
agreement, without the intervention of any [public] function- 
ary. . . . Man should be free to dispose of the strongest in- 
stinct of his nature as of every other natural instinct. The 
gratification of the sexual instinct is just in the same way the 
personal affair of every individual as is the satisfaction of 
any other natural appetite. Therefore no one is obliged to 
render an account of such gratification ; nor is any uncalled- 
for intermeddler permitted to interfere in this matter. 
Prudence, education, and independence will facilitate and 
direct the proper choice. If disagreement, disappointment, 
or disaffection should arise, morality [!] demands a disrup- 
tion of the unnatural and, consequently, immoral alliance." * 

Here we have unvarnished " free-love." What 
remains of the bond of marriage if the parties, 
following every whim and transient disaffection, are 
free to separate and to enter upon another alliance ? 
However, we do not mean to confine ourselves to 
such explicit teaching of socialists. We shall en- 
deavor to show that socialism of its very nature 
demolishes the family, which is the foundation of 
the social order. The basis upon which the indis- 
solubility of marriage, and consequently the stability 
of the family, chiefly rests is the education of 
children. It is chiefly for this purpose that the life- 

1 Die Frau, p. 192. 

146 Socialism Impracticable. 

long union of man and wife is necessary ; for 
such a life-long union is generally required for the 
suitable education of their offspring. Therefore 
whoever wrests the education of their children from 
the hands of parents, and makes it a function of the 
state, thereby undermines the lowest foundation of 
the family. But socialism puts education and in- 
struction altogether into the hands of the common- 
wealth. The Gotha programme, and, in short, social- 
istic platforms generally, demand " universal and 
equal education for all by the -state." On this point 
too we shall insert the words of the great apostle of 
socialism : 

" Every child that comes into the world, whether male or 
female, is a welcome increase to society ; for society beholds 
in every child the continuation of itself and its own further 
development ; it, therefore, perceives from the very outset 
the duty, according to its power, to provide for the new-born 
child. And, first of all, the mother who gives birth to and 
nurses the child is the object of the state's concern. Comfort- 
able lodging, pleasant surroundings, and accommodations of 
all kinds suited to this stage of motherhood, careful treat- 
ment of herself and of her offspring, are the first care of 
society. It is self-evident that the mother must be left to 
nurse the child, as long as this is possible and necessary. 

"When the child waxes stronger his equals await him for 
common amusement, under public direction. Here again 
all things are supplied which, according to the perfection of 
human knowledge and wisdom, for the time being, tend 
towards the development of soul and body. Then comes 
the kindergarten with its play-rooms ; and, at a later period, 
the child is playfully introduced into the elements of knowl- 
edge and human activity. Mental and bodily labor, gym- 
nastic exercises, free movement on the play-ground and in 
the gymnasium, on the ice field and in the natatorium ; 
marching, fencing, and other exercises for both sexes, shall 
succeed and relieve each other in due order. The intro- 

Marriage in the Socialistic State. 147 

duction to the various kinds of useful labor to manufacture, 
gardening, farming, and to the entire mechanism of produc- 
tion follows in due succession. But the intellectual de- 
velopment, in the meantime, on the various fields of science, 
is not to be neglected. Corresponding to the high grade of 
social culture shall be the outfit of the lecture-halls, the edu- 
cational appliances, and the means of instruction. All means 
of education and instruction, clothing and food, supplied by 
the community, will be such as to give no pupil an advantage 
over another. The number and the ability of the teaching 
body will be in proportion to the demands. 

" Such will be the education of both sexes equal and 
common for the separation of the sexes can be justified 
only in those cases in which the distinction of sex makes it 
an imperative duty. And this system of education, strictly 
organized, under efficient control, continued to that stage of 
life when society shall declare its youth to be of age, will 
eminently qualify both sexes for all rights and duties which 
society grants or imposes on its full-grown members. Thus 
society can rest satisfied that it has educated members that 
are perfectly developed in every direction." * 

This is one of the midsummer night's dreams in 
which Bebel's " Frau" delights to revel. How deeply 
immoral such dreams are needs hardly to be stated. 
The usurpation of education by the state, however, is 
quite logical according to the principles of socialism. 
If socialism will effect absolute equality in the con- 
ditions of life, it must first of all remove the universal 
source of social inequality, i.e., unequal education ; 
and this can be done only by making education a 
social concern. Such a regulation would, of course, 
not hinder mothers from suckling their own children 
and nursing them to a certain age. But mothers and 
children would stand under the supervision of the 
body social ; for there would be no servants in those 

1 Die Frau, pp. 182, 183. 

148 Socialism Impracticable. 

days : physicians, surgeons, midwives, etc., would be 
in the service of the body politic ; those able to 
work would have to contribute their share to the 
social production, while the care of those unable 
to work would devolve upon the community. The 
care and treatment of mothers in confinement and of 
their children would, of course, be the concern of the 
state. For if the care of the children were left to 
the parents it might happen that childless husbands 
and wives who have never been prevented from work 
would attain to a much higher income than others 
who would have to provide for the support of a 
numerous family, and would thus be prevented from 
taking an active part in production. And if the 
father or mother should fall sick it might easily 
happen that an entire family would be exposed to 
starvation, while another would enjoy all comforts. 
And how could a mother without the aid of servants 
bring up and educate a large family, say of ten or 
twelve children ? If, therefore, education were left 
to the parents themselves it would be the duty of 
the community at least to give an additional allow- 
ance from the public produce for their support, and 
to make provision for them in case of sickness. In 
any case, parents would have to be relieved by the 
state of supporting their children. 

Therefore both the nourishment and the educa- 
tion of the children in the socialistic state would be 
a public affair, and would be directed and controlled 
by the entire body social. Thus the chief duty of 
parents, for the sake of which marriage has been 
instituted as an indissoluble union, would cease to 
exist ; for a life-long union and co-operation on 
the part of parents is not required for the mere 

Marriage in the Socialistic State. 149 

propagation of children. And even though in the 
socialistic state the indissolubility of marriage might 
be sanctioned by law, yet the integrity of the family 
would receive the death-blow. That which binds 
husband and wife most closely is not only the actual 
existence of offspring, but, above all, the conscious- 
ness that upon their united efforts and care depends 
the weal or woe of their children. Parents have to 
provide for the support and the development of 
their children ; upon their care, above all, depend 
the life, the future position, the social standing, the 
honor, and the eternal welfare of their children. 
This consciousness urges them on to untiring ac- 
tivity. What they have been able to accumulate by 
their toil falls to the advantage of their offspring, in 
whom they, as it were, continue to live, and who 
naturally inherit the fruits of their cares and toils. 

On the other hand, the consciousness that they 
owe to their parents, not only their life itself, but 
also their preservation, education, and position 
in society in short, all they possess binds the 
children in intimate love to their parents. They 
know that their own fortune is closely linked 
together with that of their parents. Hence there 
exists between them mutual sympathy in joys and 
sorrows. In socialism all this would cease to exist ; 
for the entire social body would form but one family. 
What would become of parental authority if children 
knew that the state provided for their sustenance, 
or, at least, remunerated parents for the care be- 
stowed upon them ? Would not such a system 
greatly promote rash marriages and facilitate di- 
vorces, particularly as in the socialistic state marriage 
would be a private concern ? 

1 50 Socialism Impracticable. 

II. Education and Instruction. 

Let us now cast a brief glance at education and 
instruction in the socialistic state. As we have 
already stated, Bebel promises the most marvellous 
results on the field of education. But now let us 
imagine children collected in large numbers, sepa- 
rated from their parents, first in the spacious play- 
rooms of the kindergarten, then in the elementary 
schools, where they are "playfully" introduced into 
the elements of knowledge. Will this mass or 
wholesale education lead to satisfactory results? 
We might consider this possible if there were ques- 
tion only of a military education for the formation 
of future soldiers. But the universal application of 
such a system is simply absurd. Nor can the social- 
ist point to the example of present educational in- 
stitutions in which children receive not only instruc- 
tion, but also their board and education, as in the 
family. For, to say nothing of the fact that the 
children are generally not confided to such institu- 
tions before the age of ten or twelve years, and that 
the pupils of such institutions form but a small 
fraction of the entire youth, while socialism would 
have all children without exception confided to 
public institutions for care and instruction the 
chief difference consists in this, that our present 
boarding educational institutions presuppose and 
are based upon the existence of home training. 
The teachers of such institutions are the representa- 
tives of parents, and are supported by the parents' 
authority ; and if a pupil of such an institution 
is incorrigible, he will, to his own disgrace and the 

Education and Instruction. 151 

shame of his parents, be expelled from the institu- 
tion. But this would not be the case in the social- 
istic state. Besides, we must bear in mind that the 
socialistic youth would be brought up without 
religion ; that there would be no separation of the 
sexes. What, then, would be the result? Nothing 
would remain but forcibly to lash the socialistic 
youth into discipline and order. And yet how 
ineffectual is physical force in education ! 

Yet we have not done with the difficulties arising 
from the socialistic principles of education. It is 
impossible that all children should be instructed and 
educated in all branches of knowledge and industry. 
Bebel repeatedly asserts the contrary ; yet it remains 
simply impossible. Let us suppose that in a cer- 
tain grade the instruction and education is the same 
for all. Beyond this grade, however, a division 
would have to take place. Not all have talents for 
arts and sciences, and still fewer there are who have 
abilities to take up all studies. Not all have suf- 
ficient skill for the practice of all trades and indus- 
tries. If, therefore, the socialists would not be 
satisfied with a very low and insufficient grade of 
culture, if they would not make shallowness and 
superficiality universal attributes of education, they 
must at a certain stage, say at the age of twelve or 
thirteen, draw a line, and then allow their pupils 
to devote themselves to some special branches 
of knowledge or industry. But who is to deter- 
mine the studies to be pursued? The simplest 
system would be to submit the pupils to examina- 
tions ; for a decision by the children themselves, or 
by their parents, or by the verdict of a committee, 
or by the vote of the majority, would be impracti- 

152 Socialism Impracticable. 

cable. The parents manifestly would in most cases 
present their children for the highest grade of edu- 
cation, as they themselves would not have to bear 
the expenses and trouble. The children, on the 
other hand, even the most gifted, if left to them- 
selves, would in most cases be satisfied with little 
learning. If the decision were left to a committee 
it would lead to unjust treatment, and consequently 
to endless complaints on the part of those parents 
whose children would be slighted. 

The promotion to higher studies, therefore, would 
have to be made dependent on the results of ex- 
aminations. But even this method would be at- 
tended with serious difficulties. For either we 
suppose that higher grades of education would be 
connected with certain advantages in regard to 
income and social standing, or we suppose that they 
would not. If a higher grade of education has no 
advantage for future life, very few would be found 
to aspire to it. If, on the other hand, it should 
have some influence upon the future social standing 
of the possessor, it would result in a difference of 
social position, and thus it would be all over with 
the socialistic equality of the conditions of life. 
Moreover, if social position is not made altogether 
dependent upon the labor performed according to 
the logical programme of socialism, but upon other 
conditions, why should talent alone be taken into 
account ? Do not also virtue, diligence, and the 
descent from parents who have merited well of the 
commonwealth deserve consideration ? Is it not 
harsh, nay, unjust, to make the entire future of a 
man's life depend upon a school examination in his 

Communism in Religious Orders. 153 

As the promotion to higher studies, so also the 
decision what trade or industry each one should 
embrace would have to depend upon examinations ; 
for as in branches of knowledge, so also in trades 
and industry an equal education of all is a thing of 
impossibility. If too many candidates would pass 
the examination for a certain branch of industry, 
they would have to be applied by superior authority 
to different industries. Therefore from the very 
outset the body social would have to decide the 
course of education and the future vocation of all 
and each of its members, lest there should be too 
great a rush to any profession, or to any particular 
trade or industry. Socialism and freedom, therefore, 
are incompatible with each other. The irreconcil- 
able contradiction between freedom and the " abso- 
lute systematic control " of the national labor is the 
rock upon which socialism is destined to be ship- 



I. Communism in Religious Orders. 

IT has been advanced in favor of socialism that in 
the religious orders of the Catholic Church perfect 
communism reigns. Why, then, should it not be 
practicable in entire nations? There is, however, 
between the Catholic religious orders and socialism 
an impassable gulf. Socialism aims at the universal 
introduction of a system which, of its very nature, 
demands the greatest detachment from earthly 

154 Socialism Impracticable. 

things and an earnest struggle for perfection, and 
which, consequently, in the present order of things 
is suited only for the few. True, where men who 
have renounced all earthly goods and have devoted 
themselves to the service of God and of their neigh- 
bor voluntarily unite in common .life, there may be 
community of goods without discord and con- 
tention ; nay, such a system in that case will prove 
most beneficial, as it will relieve the individuals of 
the care of providing for their earthly wants. But 
as men generally are, few are able to rise to such a 
height of self-denial, and to devote themselves en- 
tirely to the pursuit of self-perfection and to the 
divine service. It is, therefore, a vain and unreason- 
able attempt to force men generally to renounce all 
private property and to endeavor violently to weld 
them together into a mechanical organization for the 
purpose of production. 

Socialists, it is true, plead that they demand not 
the renunciation of property that they only desire 
to establish property upon the basis of justice. 
These are fair words, but without meaning. He 
who wishes to abolish private property in all the 
materials of labor substantially abolishes private 
ownership. Property in mere articles of use must 
of its very nature be limited and is not sufficient to 
secure to man the necessary freedom of action and 
movement. If man is deprived of private property 
in the materials of labor he is thereby made an in- 
tegral part of the great public industrial machine, and 
thus loses all independence of action. Of this fact 
we believe every one who has carefully followed our 
exposition will be convinced. 

Moreover, the analogy can afford no argument 

Modern Industrial Organizations. 155 

for this reason because in religious orders commu- 
nism is based upon celibacy. Perfect poverty or 
the renouncement of all temporal goods is incom- 
patible with married life and with the duties which 
married life entails. It is utterly irreconcilable with 
family life in the present state of humanity. 

II. Modern Industrial Organizations. 

The objection taken by socialists from modern 
industrial organizations seems to have greater force 
at first sight. In the present social order it is no 
rare phenomenon that eight or ten or even more 
thousands of laborers are employed in one great in- 
dustrial department ; and yet the industry proceeds 
in the very best order. Nor do the labor ma- 
terials and the machinery belong to the laborers 
themselves, nay, not even to the directors of such 
industrial establishments. Why should not such a 
system be extended to an entire state? 

This objection overlooks but one feature, and that 
is the chief distinction between private industry and 
the socialistic organization. This modern industrial 
order in great manufactories and other industries is 
based upon the strongest moral force. The owner of 
the factory or industry, either in person or by means 
of his representative, confronts the laborers as pro- 
prietor and can rule them with almost absolute 
power. The laborer, it is true, is not forced to offer 
his service to such establishments, but if he wishes 
to obtain from them labor and support he must 
submit unconditionally to their ruling. The least 
insubordination will be the cause of his dismissal. 
Therefore force controls the modern system of 

156 Socialism Impracticable. 

production, but only moral force, to which each 
one submits for his own interest. In the socialistic 
state, on the other hand, the directors of the various 
industries would confront the laborers not as propri- 
etors, but as equals, possessing the same rights. 
Each one has the same right as his neighbor to con- 
sider himself a proprietor; nor can any one be dis- 
missed ; but every one must get work, for the simple 
reason that all private production is interdicted. 
The practicability of large private industrial institu- 
tions, therefore, does not prove the possibility of 
extending the same system to entire states. The 
arguments taken from the state industries which 
have been attempted by some governments, such as 
railroads, mail service, telegraphs, state mines, etc., 
do not conclude in favor of socialism. For in these 
public industries also the state or its representatives 
are considered as proprietors in their relation to the 
laborers. Besides, the directors are personally in- 
terested in such establishments, and are themselves 
also under the influence of the same moral force as 
the laborers. Every official as well as every laborer 
must be satisfied with his position. There is no al- 
ternative left him, if he wishes to gain his livelihood. 
Besides, he may be dismissed at pleasure or his 
salary may be curtailed if he gives any occasion of 
complaint to his superiors. Even a slight murmur 
on his part may suffice to deprive him of his posi- 
tion. Hence it is that in our modern state industries, 
wherever they have obtained, main force is the rul- 
ing power, and all is directed by absolute control. 
But in the socialistic state of the future, in which 
every man is to be a sovereign and to receive his 
position and his support from the community, in 

The Modern Military System. 157 

which, moreover, the final decision regarding the 
control of labor, the division of produce, the ap- 
pointment of officers, should be the business of the 
people, the case would be quite different. 

III. The Modern Military System. 

Socialists endeavor to fetch an argument for the 
possibility of their system from the organization 
and direction of our huge modern armies. How- 
ever, it is manifest that a strict military organization 
with a criminal code including, as in Germany, for 
instance, some thirty capital crimes, could not be 
extended to an entire people and brought to bear 
upon all phases of human life. The socialists at 
least must lay aside their high-sounding phrases 
about freedom and equality if they would impose 
upon us such military discipline. However, we have 
no reason to fear that such a scheme will so easily 
be realized. For, what would become of an army if 
the soldiers themselves had the chief command if 
they chose their own officers and generals, and de- 
posed them at pleasure, and held court-martial over 
them? Our modern armies are under the strictest 
discipline and subordination. An army on demo- 
cratic principles is chimerical. Besides, we must 
bear in mind that socialism undertakes to organize 
not only military activity, but the entire social life 
production, commerce, education, instruction, the 
press, the arts and sciences, etc. If, then, even an 
organization on socialistic principles is impracticable 
for military purposes, how much more so for the 
varied and more complex relations of social life ! 

158 Socialism Impracticable. 

IV. Stock Companies. 

Stock companies require special consideration, 
since they have been advanced in favor of socialism, 
for the reason that the capital invested in them not 
rarely produces large gains, although it is almost 
entirely alienated from the hands of the proprietors 
or shareholders. Extensive enterprises in com- 
merce, industry, mining, railroads, steamboats, etc., 
prove remarkably successful in companies or syndi- 
cates, although their directors have no personal in- 
terest in them. 

However, the absence of personal interest is but 
apparent in these cases. In regard to the subordi- 
nate officials of such companies the same rule holds 
as in the case of state industries their own per- 
sonal interest binds them to their position ; and the 
higher authorities- or directors confront the laborers 
in the capacity of proprietors. But the directors of 
these syndicates have themselves large interests in 
the enterprises and are, consequently, concerned for 
their success and prosperity ; for in most cases 
they are among the chief shareholders, and in case 
the enterprises are prosperous they obtain larger 
dividends. Even the subordinate officials of such 
companies have in many cases a share of the profit. 
Since, therefore, the directors have an almost abso- 
lute power over the officers appointed and the la- 
borers employed by them, it is easy to perceive the 
reason why such companies, notwithstanding the 
apparent sequestration of the capital, should realize 
large profits. 

For the rest, it is a well-known fact that stock 

Stock Companies. 159 

companies, compared with private enterprises, are at 
a disadvantage in regard to economy in the use of 
raw materials, machinery, etc. ; and, consequently, 
such organizations with small capital are generally 
unsuccessful. But in the case of large syndicates 
with extensive capital these disadvantages are coun- 
terbalanced by other advantages. 1 

Another essential difference between syndicates 
and the ideal socialistic organization is the circum- 
stance that in syndicates the directors are rarely 
changed. The permanence of the directors is a nec- 
essary condition for the success of large enterprises. 
If the direction is often changed there is a lack of 
unity and system, as the opinions of the directors 
will rarely be found to coincide. What guarantee 
would there be for this necessary permanence in the 
direction of the industrial organizations in social- 
ism, in which the directors would be chosen and 
deposed by popular vote, and in which the principle 
of the equal rights of all would admit of no perma- 
nence in the administration of the more influential 
offices? And if the supreme directors of industrial 
organizations have not sufficient power in their 
hands, and if their decision is made dependent upon 
the consent of the majority, they are thus deprived 
of the power necessary for the efficient administra- 
tion of their offices. 

1 Cf. Leroy-Beaulieu, Le Collectivisme, p. 348, sq. 


HERE we shall bring our investigation of socialism 
to a close. We trust that the unprejudiced reader 
who has patiently followed us throughout our exposi- 
tion has gained the conviction that socialism, even in 
its most rational and scientific form, is visionary and 
impracticable. It is based on untenable religious, 
philosophic, and economic principles, and, far from 
leading to the glorious results held out by its ad- 
vocates to the unlearned masses, would prove dis- 
astcous to that culture which Christianity has pro- 
duced, and reduce human society to a state of utter 
barbarism. We may, therefore, conclude in the 
words of Leo XIII., "On the Condition of Labor": 
" Hence follows the untenableness of the principle 
of socialism, according to which the state should 
appropriate all private property and convert it into 
common property. Such a theory can only turn 
out to the grave disadvantage of the laboring classes, 
for whose benefit it has been invented. It is opposed 
to the natural rights of every individual human 
being ; it perverts the true purpose of the state, and 
renders the peaceful development of social life im- 
possible." However, a permanent institution of 
socialism is not to be feared, since it is in open con- 
tradiction with the indestructible instincts and ten- 
dencies of human nature. 


Conclusion. 161 

Yet no one can fail to see the grave dangers that 
threaten society from the socialistic agitation. Now, 
if we would avert those dangers we must co-operate 
in earnest, each in his sphere, towards social reform. 
A social life worthy of a human being must be 
secured for even the lowest of the laboring classes. 
For this end it is necessary not only that he receive 
sufficient wages, but also that sufficient regard be 
had for his life and health, and therefore that his 
strength be not overtaxed by immoderate labor. 
He must be treated not only with fairness, but also 
with love and consideration. Finally, he must have 
the assurance that in case of misfortune or ill-health 
he be not abandoned or cast into the street. And 
since in our days personal effort and private charity 
are by no means sufficient, public authority must by 
suitable legislation take the necessary measures for this 
end. The social reform should aim at such a state 
of things that the humblest laborer may entertain 
a well-founded hope by industry and economy to 
better his condition, and gradually rise to a higher 
social standing. 1 

It may be objected that we have in this work 
to some extent ignored the just claims of socialism. 
However, if we consider what \& peculiar to socialism 
as such in contradistinction to other social reform 
movements and this is precisely the point in ques- 
tion socialism cannot be said to possess any just 
claims. If there is any justice in the claims of 
socialists it consists in their opposition to the ex- 
treme individualism of the liberal movement. 

Man may be conceived under a twofold aspect 

1 Cf. Moral Philosophic, vol. ii. pp. 508-521. 

1 62 Conclusion. 

as a free and independent individual, and as a social 
being, destined to live in, and form part of, society. 
Liberalism at least in bygone years considered 
man only under the first aspect. It regarded only 
the individual and his independence, and almost en- 
tirely disregarded his social relations. From this 
standpoint liberalism tended towards the dismember- 
ment of society, and proclaimed the maxim of laissez 
faire as the highest political wisdom. A reaction 
against this tendency was justified, and socialism, in 
as far as it can be viewed as a protest against ex- 
treme individualism, is perfectly right. But social- 
ism, on its part, goes to the other extreme, consider- 
ing only the social aspect of man, and disregarding 
the freedom and independence of the individual. It 
deprives the individual of his liberty, by making him 
the slave of the community a wheel in the great 
and complicated mechanism of the social production, 
which is no less absurd. 

As in most cases, here too the truth is mid- 
way between both extremes. Both aspects of man 
the individual as well as the social must be 
taken into consideration and brought into harmony. 
This is the unshaken principle from which all rational 
attempts at social reform must proceed. The insti- 
tution and promotion of co-operative organizations 
are, as we have already noticed, the surest and best 
means to reconcile the claims of the individual with 
those of society, and thus to bring about harmony 
between the conflicting elements. 

The most important and indispensable factor in 
the social reform, however, is the revival of Chris- 
tianity among all classes of society. Legislative 
measures may produce the external frame-work of a 

Conclusion. 163 

new social order ; but it is only Christianity that can 
give it life and efficacy. Only on the ground of 
Christianity can the hostile social elements be 
brought to a reconciliation. Let us not deceive our- 
selves : the wisest and most humane legislation will 
never appease an indolent and grasping mass of 
laborers. But whence is the laborer to appropriate 
the virtues of industry and economy? Only from 
the ever-flowing fountain of living Christianity. 
How can the laborer be expected to bear the toils 
and hardships that are inseparable from his state, if 
he has been led to believe that all hopes and fears 
in regard to the eternal retribution beyond the grave 
are childish fancies, and that with this life all shall 
come to an end ? 

This revival of Christianity, however, must not be 
confined to the laborer : it must also extend to the 
higher and more influential phases of society. In 
vain will our so-called "cultured classes" expect 
Christian patience and resignation from the laborer, 
while they themselves disregard the laws of Chris- 
tianity, and publicly profess the grossest infidelity. 
It sounds like irony if the rich preach economy and 
self-denial to the poor, while they themselves indulge 
in the most extravagant luxury and dissipation. 
The wealthy must begin the social reform at home. 
They must come to the conviction that they have 
not only rights but also duties towards the labor- 
ing man duties of justice and duties of charity. 
They must bear in mind that they have been ap- 
pointed by God, as it were, the administrators of 
their earthly possessions, which should in some way 
serve for the benefit of all. They should remember 
that the laborer is not a mere chattel, but a rational 

164 Conclusion. 

being, their brother in Christ, who, in the eyes of 
God, is equal to the richest and most powerful on 
earth. It is only this bond of Christian sentiment 
of mutual love and reverence between rich and poor, 
high and low that can bring about a reconciliation 
of the social conflicts of our times. 

And since the Church is the God-appointed guar- 
dian and preserver of the Christian religion, and 
since she cannot fulfil this task unless she is free to 
exercise all her power and influence, we must de- 
mand for the solution of the social problem the per- 
fect freedom of the Church in all her ministrations. 
Above all, we must insist on the full freedom of the 
Church to exercise her saving influence on the 
schools, from the common school to the university. 
Liberalism has used the schools and universities to 
alienate the nations from God. Socialism is adopt- 
ing the same policy for the subversion of the social 
order; and if the Church is to exert her influence for 
the salvation of society in our day, she must do so 
chiefly on the field of education. 




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Socialism exposed and refuted, .C35